The Attorney General has refused to release secret Justice Department projections of the impact of her ideologically driven policy of abolishing suspended sentences on Tasmania’s prison population.
“The Greens have obtained a heavily redacted version of a previously secret Justice Department report entitled ‘Discussion paper on the possible impact of the abolishment of suspended sentences’, but the Attorney is refusing to release the Department’s prison population projections,” Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim MP said.
“Welcome to the brave new world of majority government, where crucial information is kept from the public in order to protect an incompetent Minister.”
“However, the previously secret report does show that Tasmania’s prison system faces an unsustainable population explosion, revealing that in 2012-13 Tasmanian courts imposed 1245 suspended sentences.”
“This means that we can expect nearly 1300 new entrants to prison every year as a direct result of the Liberals’ ideologically driven policy to abolish suspended sentences, which will lead to unprecedented challenges and cost pressures in the prison system.”
“There is absolutely no reason for the Attorney General to keep the prison population projections secret, except to protect herself and her ideologically driven policy from scrutiny.”
“Ultimately Dr Goodwin’s policy will cost more, make our community a more dangerous place, and create more victims of crime.”
“Dr Goodwin’s position is a classic example of a triumph of populism over good policy, made even more bizarre by the fact that she is a previously well regarded criminologist who should know better.”
Mr McKim laughed off Dr Goodwin’s feeble response today that alternative sentencing options would mitigate the increase in prison population, saying that she is ignoring the fact that Judges and Magistrates have to sentence an offender to a term of imprisonment before any or all of that term can be suspended.