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Liberal Policies Filling Jails, Increasing Aboriginal Incarcerations, Clogging Courts


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 22 January 2021

Tags: Justice, Prisons, Corrections, Police, Crime, Aboriginal Tasmanians, Community Safety

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

The latest ROGS data on Justice again confirms the State has gone backwards, socially, under the Liberals.

Their policies are crowding  prison facilities, increasing recidivism rates, putting more Tasmanian Aborigines in jail, investing less in diversionary programs and clogging the courts. They are absolutely not making Tasmania a safer place.

Corrections

The daily average prisoner population has increased from 472 in 2013-14 to 664 in 2019-20.  This is a 71% increase under the Liberals. The number of people in the prison system has increased each year since 2014.

In 2010-11, the daily average population was 474, so it was trending down under the Labor Green government’s Breaking the Cycle reforms. 

The Liberals’ policy approach is instead, ‘The Vicious Cycle’, with recidivism rates soaring since 2014. 
According to Corrections’ annual reports, over the past six years, recidivism rates increased from 39.1% to 47.1% for prisons specifically, and from 50.6% to 56% for corrections generally. 

The imprisonment rate for Aboriginal Tasmanians is four times higher than non-Aboriginal Tasmanians. The rate was still far too high at three times higher in 2013-14, but it’s getting worse for the palawa people under the Liberals. 

Time out of cells per day has decreased from 9 hours in 2013-14 to 7.1 hours. This is punitive and increases stress levels inside the prison, increasing volatility within Risdon. 

Risdon Prison is also under pressure from overcrowding, with ROGS showing its design capacity utilisation has increased from 77.1% in 2013-14 to 92.6% in 2019-20

The prisoner on prisoner assault rate has increased to 2.41 in 2019-30 from 0.64 for serious assaults in 2013-14, and  to 11.75 from 5.08 for non-serious assaults over the same period. 

Risdon is a more violent place for both inmates and staff under the Liberals.

Police

​​​​​In 2013-14, 53% of youth offenders were diverted (from the corrections system. This has decreased to 46%. This is particularly pronounced for Aboriginal Tasmanians, who were diverted 40% of the time in 2013-14 and are now diverted only 23% of the time. 

This points to systemic racism within the corrections and justice systems. 

Courts

The percentage of Supreme Court pending cases over 12 months old has increased from 31.6% in 2013-14 to 41.8% in 2019-20. The percentage of pending cases more than 24 months old has increased from 9% to 25% in the same time.

The Liberals have been nothing short of disastrous for justice in Tasmania.