Law and Order
1.1: Increase rehabilitation programs in gaols to decrease rates of recidivism and hence reduce the burden of crime on all members of society.
Traditionally, there are 4 purposes of gaol:
- Retribution: punishment for a person who commits an offence
- Deterrence: discouraging re-offending and potential future offenders
- Protection: separating a potentially dangerous individual from the community
- Rehabilitation: reintegrating the individual into the community
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 crime, and reducing the impact on victims of crime. Unfortunately, the current puts convicted offenders in gaols with limited facilities for rehabilitation. Gaol should serve as a deterrent to potential offenders by reducing one's liberties, but doesn't provide enough opportunities for rehabilitation.
Reducing recidivism will reduce: the level of crime in the community, the costs of policing and if running the gaol system, the economic losses of having people idle in the gaol system, and the social cost of separating people from their families and society.
Education during incarceration and employment after being released from incarcerations are associated with lower recidivism. Therefore, incarcerated people should have greater access to education of various levels, including vocational training and higher education. People leaving gaol should be supported through a short-term grant to their first employer following release, to reduce the barrier to (re-)employment.
- Study in prison reduces recidivism and welfare dependence: A case study from Western Australia 2005–2010
- Australian prison vocational education and training and returns to custody among male and female ex-prisoners: A cross-jurisdictional study
- Evaluation of vocational training in custody: relationships between training, post-release employment and recidivism
2. Child Protection
2.1: All people in religious ministry shall be mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse.
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.
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