1.1. Policy: Increase rehabilitation programs in gaols to decrease rates of recidivism and hence reduce the burden of crime on all members of society.
1.2. Discussion: Traditionally, there are 4 purposes of gaol:
- As a form of retribution on the person who commits the offence – an eye for an eye
- As a deterrent to potential future offenders
- To protect society from a potentially dangerous individual
- As a place where the individual can become rehabilitated
The Science Party believes that gaols can potentially provide all of the above, but we do not believe that sentences should focus on retribution. The criminal justice system’s main focus should be on reducing the total amount of crime that occurs, and reducing the impact on victims of the crime that happens. Unfortunately, the current legal system takes offenders and puts them in gaol where there are limited facilities for the people to be rehabilitated. The Science Party believes that gaol should serve as a deterrent to other potential offenders by reducing one’s liberties, but that we don’t go far enough in terms of providing rehabilitation.
The Science Party believes that offenders in gaol should have greater access to educational facilities while incarcerated. They should be given access to education of various levels, from vocational training to higher education training. Individuals who leave gaol should be supported upon their release by giving a grant to their first employer following release of a fraction of their income for 3 months, to give the individual access to immediate employment upon leaving the gaol system. By giving offenders’ employers this grant, it reduces the barrier to re-entry into the workforce. Failing to re-enter the workforce can be a path to recidivism. By reducing recidivism, we will reduce the amount of crime in the community, reduce the cost of policing crime, decrease the cost of running the gaol system, decrease the economic losses of having a lot of humans being idle in the gaol system, and reduce discrimination in society (as some groups are, unfortunately, overrepresented in the gaol system).
2. Child Protection
2.1. Policy: All people in religious ministry shall be mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse..
2.2. Discussion: This recommendation was identified by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Recommendation 7.3(e)). Governments must prioritise the welfare of their citizens over, for example, the Seal of the Confessional, which is a religious doctrine that compels priests to not disclose confessions made to them.
3. Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system
The Science Party believes that the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the prison population and among deaths in custody is a serious concern, and must be addressed immediately. It should be a priority of governments to reduce the representation of Aboriginal people in both of these areas as a matter of justice. This will require a concerted effort using multiple strategies over many years.
The Science Party believes that the treatment of drugs by government should be considered in the context of health policy. Please see the Alcohol and Other Drugs section of our Health Policy.