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Our Prisons Forum 2009

Community Justice Coalition & International Commission of Jurists Joint Conference

OUR PRISONS - HUMAN RIGHTS, MENTAL HEALTH & PRIVATISATION

Dixson Room State Library of NSW
September 5, 2009

REPORT

At the conference: OUR PRISONS – HUMAN RIGHTS, MENTAL HEALTH & PRIVATISATION organised by the Community Justice Coalition and The International Commission of Jurists (Australia) at the State Library on Saturday September 5, 2009, one hundred people attended.

They heard speakers including The Hon John Robertson MLC, Minister for Corrective Services, Mr Victor Dominello MP presenting on behalf of the Shadow Attorney-General Greg Smith SC MP, Mr John Feneley, Deputy President NSW Mental Health Tribunal and Dr Helen Watchirs, ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner, and other distinguished academics with expertise in the area.

Speakers raised issues including:

The need to consider alternatives to prison and ways of reducing the prison population through legislative reform including reform of the Bail Act.

The need to have a principled approach to dealing with prisons that (1) respects human rights, (2) and especially for mental health patients has better options, (3) gives protection to the community, and (4) reduces recidivism by emphasis on rehabilitation. These four principles should apply to police, the courts, the prison system and community-based services.

The need to explore and understand the moral and legal responsibilities of government in the current debate about privatisation of prisons.

The Community Justice Coalition and The International Commission of Jurists (Australia) will consider having a series of follow up seminars in the future exploring these issues in more depth, and a range of other issues directed at the reform of the Correctional System.

For comment contact: Jocelyn McGirr on (02) 9315 5541 or John Dowd on 0439 625 007
Community Justice Coalition http://www.communityjusticecoalition.org/
International Commission of Jurists (Australia) http://www.icj-aust.org.au/

PAPERS OF CONFERENCE
Prison Privatisation: The (Ir)relevance of Accounting
Dr Jane Andrew

Prisons: Overview
Dr Eileen Baldry

Failed Rees Government dangerous to the community – prison focus
Brett Collins

Our Prisons — Human Rights, Mental Health and Privatisation: Applying the Amended Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990
John Fenely

Address on behalf of the Prison Officers Vocational Branch
Kim Loveday

Human Rights for Prisoners — The ACT Experience
Dr Helen Watchirs

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