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BUILD COMMUNITIES NOT PRISONS CAMPAIGN - Porter and Johnson — Grandstanding at the expense of community safety

MEDIA RELEASE

 

BUILD COMMUNITIES NOT PRISONS CAMPAIGN

 

17th February 2010

 

Porter and Johnson — Grandstanding at the

expense of community safety

 

 

Build Communities Not Prisons Campaign spokesperson, Marc Newhouse has responded to claims published in The West Australian newspaper (Page 3, February 17, 2010) by Attorney General Christian Porter and Police Minister Rob Johnson — that “keeping criminals off the streets is reducing reoffending”.

 

Mr Newhouse said “The current State Government’s campaign to reduce crime rates by imprisoning as many people as possible is a campaign built around providing short term answers to long term problems”.

 

“Mr Porter and Mr Johnson are merely stating the obvious — that is, by imprisoning people who have been found guilty of offenses, they will not be able to reoffend for the period that they are incarcerated. While crime rates might be lower in some areas right now — at a time when WA prisons are holding more people than ever — people are still imprisoned for finite periods of time. You can’t lock people up forever just to keep your statistics low Mr Porter! More needs to be done to address the root causes of criminal behaviour.”

 

“While busy patting themselves on the back over a slight decrease in crime statistics, the Attorney General fails to mention that for every extra person imprisoned, it costs the public an extra $100,000 each year. The Ministers have also conveniently failed to mention that there is a substantial body of evidence which clearly demonstrates that prisons, particularly overcrowded ones, fail to rehabilitate, deter, meet public concerns or make communities safer places to live in.”

 

Having increased rates of imprisonment as the basis of your law and order strategy is bad policy and does not make good financial sense.”

 

“What is needed is a bipartisan commitment to address the root causes of crime such as poverty, unemployment, homelessness and substance abuse. Spending over 4.7 billion dollars per annum locking people up in overcrowded prisons is not the way to make the community safer in the long term. Building healthy, economically sustainable, vibrant and strong communities is what leads to reduction in crime and safer communities” Mr Newhouse said.

 

 

 

Media Contact: Marc Newhouse (spokesperson), Build Communities Not Prisons Campaign 0415 074 602.

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