Beyond Bars: Reflecting on the Rights of Victoria’s Prisoners
Out of sight, out of mind. Victoria’s prisoners might not get much air time, but their numbers are growing at alarming rates – and with high rates of recidivism and patchy access to rehabilitation and reintegration programs, a rethink of our prison system is both practical and timely.
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Offenders such as Adrian Bayley – and the media attention and public outcry around his violent crimes – led to 2014’s parole reforms, which Victorian Corrections Minister Wade Noonan has said made the state ‘the toughest place in the country to be paroled’. Yet in the past two years, the state’s prison population has soared by 25% – with each prisoner costing the taxpayer around $98,600 per year.
In this discussion, we focus on how we might strike a balance between community safety and the protection of human rights of prisoners. We look at what restrictions are placed on prisoners’ rights, examine what’s happening in other jurisdictions and ask: what does rehabilitation look like in 2015, and who benefits from increasing prison population numbers, anyway?
Speakers include Deborah Glass, Bronwyn Naylor, Lisa Harrison and Anita Barraud.
Dr Bronwyn Naylor is an associate professor in the Law Faculty at Monash University, with degrees in Arts and Law from Monash University and a doctorate in Criminology from Cambridge University. She has been teaching, researching and publishing in criminal law, corrections, regulation, and criminal justice and gender for over 20 years. Dr Naylor was the lead Investigator on an ARC-funded project on human rights in prisons and other places of detention, and is co-editor of the new Federation Press publication Human Rights in Closed Environments.
Deborah Glass OBE is the Victorian Ombudsman. Glass has previously worked as a commissioner with the Independent Police Complaints Commission of England and Wales (IPCC), and as the IPCC deputy chair. She holds a firm belief in public sector integrity and the protection of human rights.
Lisa Harrison is a former researcher in the Law faculty at Monash University, and project manager of an Australian Research Council funded project into the implementation of human rights in places of detention – including prisons. She is currently a trainee lawyer and community legal educator with the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission, based in Darwin.
Anita Barraud is the producer of ABC RN’s Law Report, and has worked at the ABC for almost 30 years as a journalist, producer and presenter. Barraud has produced and presented Radio National programs covering many areas including law, science, religion, books and arts, and for over ten years had a particular focus on the Asian region as producer and presenter of Indian Pacific and Asia Pacific.