"These changes will make me think twice about calling 000 when dealing with someone experiencing psychosis." - a Victorian nurse
Our emergency service workers should be able to get help without worrying about sending a mentally ill patient to jail.
Mandatory sentencing is bad law, as each situation, each person, is different.
Seriously distressed people, people experiencing mental illness, people scared in a crisis – deserve a chance to be heard.
Jailing without exception silences these experiences.
Don’t be fooled, a prison sentence for 6 months is a life sentence. When you go to prison you are disconnected from your family. When you go to prison you lose your job, you lose your home. And try getting a job after you’ve been in prison. Or a rental property when your last address is Barwon Prison.
These are serious consequences.
Because prisons are like quicksand - once you slip in, you can't get out.
Justice will only be served if we hear all the facts and all the circumstances. We need to get the full picture.
But instead, Premier Andrews is choosing to lock people up indiscriminately.
There is a better way.
People struggling with mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction need support, rehabilitation and treatment – not prison.
Emergency service workers need their calls for more staffing and resources answered.
An emergency service worker should not have to choose between their safety and sending someone to jail.
Call on Premier Daniel Andrews to reconsider this policy and reject mandatory sentencing.