Media release: 24 May, 2012
CHRIS BINSE - BADNESS OR BAD SYSTEM?
Siege: The last stand of an excluded
The disturbance and fear in the Melbourne suburb of Keilor during the two day seige was totally unnecessary. That is part of the cost of ignoring a proposal seven years ago for a peer mentoring project as an alternative to prison.
Since then the government has built two more prisons and thirteen COSPs, spending a billion dollars each year to fester problems creating more Chrises, rather than strengthening our communities using the principles of inclusion.
In February 2005 Justice Action accepted a mentoring role with Chris Binse, then described as the most dangerous prisoner in NSW, meeting him on release after thirteen years in prison. During his imprisonment he had been leg-shackled and handcuffed. He then said: ‘I was denied parole on at least four occasions because I was allegedly too dangerous. Yet they release me now with no housing or job. Do they want me to reoffend?’
Justice Action presented his goodness and potential to the media and MPs including Andrew Humpherson and Gladys Berejiklian. See photo. Community and victim groups supported an expansion of the successful peer-mentoring project to include funding. Chris presented a survey of Goulburn prisoners showing their eagerness to change, and yet lack of opportunity to learn and absence of incentives such as earned release. But the Government wasn’t interested.
Corrective Services was embarrassed by the exposure of such a really likeable person and the broken stereotype. Chris Binse wasn’t going to get any help and didn’t. Justice Action couldn’t maintain him through the social enterprise Breakout Media Communications. Yesterday the prisons failure gave itself another victory – but we all pay the costs.