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Stop the Womens Jail is working to ensure that the proposed womens jail at Windsor is not constructed. We are determined to see that the unanimous recommendations of the multi-party Select Committee on the Increase in Prisoner Population are implemented.


STOP THE WOMEN'S JAIL

Stop the Womens Jail is working to ensure that the proposed womens jail at Windsor is not constructed. We are determined to see that the unanimous recommendations of the multi-party Select Committee on the Increase in Prisoner Population are implemented.

$42 million of taxpayer's money should not be spent locking up more of our sisters, daughters and mothers. It should be spent looking after victims and providing education, housing and quality rehabilitation services for women who are currently being locked in cells.

The Committee received 138 submissions from a range of individuals and organisations including Ann Symonds, NSW Council of Civil Liberties, The Salvation Army, NCOSS, The NSW Law Society, Legal Aid, NSW Teachers Federation and the Bishop of Parramatta. There was only one isolated submission supporting the building of the new jail and that was from the NSW Department of Corrective Services.

However, just twenty minutes after this report was released, the State Government announced that they would proceed with the construction of the jail regardless of this report, at a cost of $42 million to taxpayers.

We must tell the government that taxpayers can not be ignored. The politics of lies and punishment bring no benefit to the people. We call on the Premier Bob Carr and the Minister for Corrective Services Bob Debus to go and see the women and children that their decisions whill effect and then let then declare their position.

Women make up 6% of the total prison population but are a very clearly defined high-needs group.

UPDATED: 20th November 2000



$42 million of taxpayer's money should not be spent locking up more of our sisters, daughters and mothers. It should be spent looking after victims and providing education, housing and quality rehabilitation services for women who are currently being locked in cells.
• 85% of the women in prison in NSW are survivors of sexual abuse or incest.
• 70-90% of women in prison have a drug addiction and need support to deal with the issues that resulted in these addictions.
• 73% have been admitted to psychiatric or mental health units.
• 70% experienced physical violence as an adult.
• Half the women in prison are also the mothers of young children and most are the sole carers for their children.
• 39% have attempted suicide.
• 30% of women prisoners come from Sydney’s three most disadvantaged suburbs.
• At any one time at least 30% of the women in prison are indigenous women.
• Most women in jail are there for non-violent offences.

The incarceration of women for minor non-violent offences serves only to damage the lives of the women and potentially the communities into which they return following incarceration.

The select committee recognised the needs of the women in the existing prison system are not being addressed or dealt with by the current system. The committee found that the focus of the Department of Corrective Services is on their role as jailer or restrainer rather than rehabilitator. The chair of the committee, John Ryan, recognised, and I quote, ‘ Prison is not the best place to rehabilitate these women’.

The NSW Upper House Select Committee looking into Increased Prison Population released a report in July on issues relating to women. The report contained a range of recommendations which are supported by ‘Stop the Womens Jail’. The multi-party committee unanimously recommended:

• a moratorium be placed on the number of prison beds for women in NSW
• that the Government undertake a cost-benefit analysis, including an examination of the costs of imprisonment versus the costs of community-based sentences, before proceeding with the proposed new 200 bed womens jail at South Windsor.
• the wider use of - bail and probation hostels, - transitional centres, - rehabilitation facilities and - residential programs;
improved liaison between corrective and community services; and
• that the needs of indigenous inmates are best met by programs designed to work closely with the relevant indigenous communities
Such measures allow women to deal with the many issues in their lives in the safe and supportive environment of a community setting rather than in a prison.
• Bail and probation hostels allow women to have their children with them rather than put further strains on these women by separating them from their children and other loved ones.

Stop the Womens Jail is calling on the NSW Minister for Corrective Services, Bob Debus, to abandon plans to build the new jail and to implement the recommendations of the Select Committee.

We encourage your involvement in this campaign. I would be happy to speak with you and your organisation about the issues related to this campaign. If you would like more information about the issue please contact Kerry Nettle, Stop the Womens Jail Coordinator on 02 9281 5100 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Some possible suggestions of how you and your organisation may like to get involved are:

  1. writing to key decision makers about this (see details below)
  2. donating to the campaign (cheques to ‘Justice Action PO Box 386 Broadway 2007)
  3. making a public statement about your support for ‘Stop the Womens Jail’ (and letting us know)
  4. passing a resolution through your organisation calling for the Carr Government to reconsider their decision to proceed with the construction of the new womens prison at a cost of $42 million to taxpayers and against the recommendation of the Select Committee. A resolution could also call for the Government to implement the recommendations of the Select Committee (eg. that a cost benefit analysis be carried out before construction of a new jail). Please let us know any motions you pass on this issue.

Here are some people it would be useful to write to about the proposed new womens jail.

Bob Debus
- Minister for Corrective Services and Attorney General
Andrew Humpherson
- Opposition Minister for Corrective ServicesBob Carr
- Premier
Kerry Chikarovski
- Opposition LeaderJohn Ryan
- Chairperon, Select Committee
on the Increase in Prisoner Population.Jennifer Gardiner
- National Party chair of committees
Meredith Burgmann
- President, Legislative Council
Michael Egan
- Treasurer
Stephen O'Doherty
- Shadow Treasurer

Your local member
All of whom can be reached at:
Parliament House
Macquarie St
Sydney 2000
In any letter to these people it is important to call for
- the womens jail not to be constructed
- the $42 million of taxpayers money to be spent on alternatives
- the recommendations of the Select Committee into the Increase in Prison Population Interim Report on Issues Relating to Women to be implemented
- a recognition that all the research in this area and overseas shows that there are alternatives to incarceration which do much more to solve the 'problem' of crime than incarceration. Many of these alternatives were recommended by the Select Committee.

 

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