This week we talk about prisons – especially women and children in prison. Interviews with Meg Rodahan about the campaign against the new women’s prison at Gatton, and Belinda Lowe from Amnesty International about their campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14.
There is and alarming increase in the number of women being incarcerated, particularly Aboriginal women.
Meg Rodahan (No Gatton Prison): Oppose the Gatton facility. Women are being taken from Wacol to to a new prison at Gatton to be run by SERCO which run prisons in Western Australian and detention centres for refugees.
Gatton will be a privately owned prison.
Gatton is a long way away from the city and there is no public transport so it is difficult for families to visit the women. 40% of the women imprisoned are on remand. That in for non-violent offences, like drugs and DVO orders taken out by police. No Gatton Prison is calling for a stop to prison expansion.
Has organised fundraising gig to go towards the bail program for women. No Gatton Prison has a petition before the Qld parliament. Their demands are:
- Call for Southern Queensland Correctional Centre to be returned to public operation immediately.
- Commit to a moratorium on prison expansion in Queensland (including a commitment to stop all current or planned construction of new cells and new prisons).
- Call on the Government to immediately implement and fund strategies to reduce the number of adults and children in Queensland prisons.
Click this link to open the E-Petition: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/petition-details?id=3013 . .
There are only a few days left to sign the petition!
Join us in calling on the Queensland Government to return Southern Queensland Correctional Centre to public operation and stop selling out vulnerable women to private companies like Serco.
If you’re a Qld resident, sign the petition here: http://bit.ly/2PQZFhE
Belinda Lowe (Amnesty) is calling on the Queensland government to increase the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years to 14 years. In 1976 the Queensland government raised the age from 8 to 10 years old. In 2016/17, 150 children in the 10 to 14 years age group were locked up.
There are major health issues, many of the children are suffering from deafness (middle ear infections) and foetal alcohol syndrome (30%). The government is using a criminal-justice response rather than health response. Aboriginal children are over represented jails. Aboriginal kids at three times more likely to have an ear infection and resulting deafness makes it hard for them to understand when they are given instructions at school. They have far greater contact the police. Many of the injustices have been outlined in the NT Royal commission into give you some children at Dondale juvenile prison.
The best way to deal with kids is to have Aboriginal-led, culturally appropriate intervention. There are a number of successful models where Aboriginal elders have been given a direct responsibility for the children. The age of criminal responsibility in other countries is higher, for example in Russia it is 14 years. To get more information go to http:\\www.amnesty.org.au . There is currently has a petition before the Qld parliament.
Pataphysics – Learned
Paddy McHugh – Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre
Cold Chisel – Four walls
Aywin – Finesse