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May 06, 2014

State Government persists with damaging and wasteful non-solution as $450m+ goes on prisons in Vic State Budget

The Victorian Government’s State Budget announcement of more than $450m ($454.3m) for nearly 900 new prison beds (871) and work towards a further 300 beds adds to previous record prison spending and is a damaging and wasteful non-solution that will not reduce crime or make the community safer, according to Smart Justice, a coalition of 29 organisations led by the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

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March 27, 2014

Ombudsman deaths in custody investigation in the media

Yesterday’s release by the Victorian Ombudsman of the Investigation into deaths and harm in custody report sparked widespread media coverage, including Smart Justice comment following our media release, which noted:

The broader significance of this powerful report is that we can’t afford the human and economic costs of endlessly increasing prison capacity, and we can’t build prisons fast enough to meet the demands of a State Government approach to criminal justice that is not based on evidence of what works to improve community safety.

It’s time to strengthen alternatives to prison for low-risk offenders who are not a threat, and to reserve prison for the safe containment of those who pose a genuine risk to community safety.

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February 25, 2014

Abolition of suspended sentences must be delayed

Findings of a new report by the Sentencing Advisory Council have prompted Smart Justice to call on the Victorian Government to delay the abolition of suspended sentences in the Magistrates’ Court scheduled to occur in September this year.

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January 30, 2014

Productivity Commission report shows Victoria’s massive prison spending just doesn’t add up

The latest Productivity Commission Report on Government Services confirms that Victoria’s massive prison invest-ment just doesn’t add up, according to Smart Justice, a coalition of 29 organisations led by the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

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December 12, 2013

Victorian Ombudsman rejects placing minors in adult prison

Justice advocacy groups Smart Justice, Smart Justice For Young People and the Centre for the Human Rights of Imprisoned People have welcomed a report by the Victorian Ombudsman calling for a halt to the transfer of children from the youth justice system to adult prison. The report was tabled in State Parliament today.

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December 05, 2013

The facts on “tough-on-crime” speak for themselves

A statement by Corrections Minister Edward O’Donohue suggesting that a campaign to solve the prison crisis and boost community safety is politically aligned and not based on facts has been rejected by Smart Justice, a broad-based coalition of 29 organisations led by the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

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December 03, 2013

Government moves to “contain” prison crisis, not solve it

The Government’s proposal to relieve prison over-crowding by housing low-risk prisoners in double-bunked shipping containers is a flawed and ad hoc response to the prison crisis, according to Smart Justice, a coalition of 29 organisations led by the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

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November 28, 2013

Jump in prison beds “in the pipeline” sparks searching questions for Napthine Government

In the wake of criticism that the Victorian Government is suppressing vital public interest data on the State’s prison population, the figures it has publicly announced on prison beds “in the pipeline” have jumped dramatically without explanation between September and October 2013.

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November 21, 2013

Spike in Victorian prisoner numbers demands rethink of justice policy

A spike in prisoner numbers in Victoria revealed by national prison statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today shows that an urgent rethink of government justice policy is needed, says Smart Justice, a coalition of 29 organisations led by the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

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October 04, 2013

New Victorian Crime Stats Agency welcomed, but independence questioned

Funding for Victoria’s new Crime Statistics Agency is welcome, but Michelle McDonnell, the Smart Justice spokesperson for the Federation of Community Legal Centres, has questioned the independence of the body in light of today’s advertisement for a chief statistician to lead it. Details so far announced suggest the agency will fail to fulfil the true independence flagged in the initial announcement, which now appears to have been qualified in several aspects.

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