Community Justice Coalition
Media Release February 17, 2011
Justice Forum – Election Policies Exposure
"Political parties have been encouraged to present their policies before the election and will be questioned about them, in response to the Community Justice Coalition questionnaire at the Saturday Forum," said CJC President David Bitel.
The CJC last November submitted a 33 page Questionnaire to all political parties inviting responses to issues around prison reform. "It is intended to provide the impetus for a serious public debate," asserted CJC Vice President, Hon John Dowd, AO, QC.
The Attorney General Hon. John Hatzistergos, Mr Greg Smith for the Liberals, and David Shoebridge for the Greens will be responding to questions about their policies at the Forum on Saturday 19th February at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts 280 Pitt St at 10am.
"The Questionnaire responses are a refreshing change from the normal law and order auction. New policy overturning bail presumptions are likely to be created following the polls with both the Liberals and Greens in favour of fair changes," said John Dowd.
"For governance and transparency of prisons, the Liberals & Nationals propose the role of Inspector of Corrections, and likewise the Greens assert that "the recent trend of increasing the power and reducing the oversight of the Commissioner must be reversed, whilst the ALP rejects change." With the endemic health problem of Hepatitis C and AIDS, both the Liberals and Greens support a trial needle and syringe program, whilst the ALP doesn't intend any change" said David Bitel.
"The Greens and the Liberals support quality educational resources, both in and out of prisons, with a range of appropriate resources and technology. However, the view of the Government is that there should be no prohibition against in-cell study but the Government fails to implement practical structures to ensure access to education," said David Bitel
Chris Puplick on 0403 223 094
John Dowd on 8249 3221
Joan Bielski 9437 6916
or 9283 0123 ext 12
The Community Justice Coalition comprises organisations including the Aboriginal Legal Service, Unions NSW, the International Commission of Jurists, NCOSS, NSW Aboriginal Land Council, NSW Teachers Federation and NSW Council for Civil Liberties.