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Current Campaigns

Current Campaigns

Kerry Adjourned - Health Department Files Opened

Kerry Adjourned - Health Department Files Opened

At the hearing on Wednesday March 11, Kerry O’Malley requested Justice Action’s assistance once again to represent her. A primary issue was to gain access to her medical file to which she and her representative was entitled. The treating team at Penrith had ignored the requests to see the documents. She and JA hadn’t seen what the Health Dept. was saying against her, and therefore couldn’t respond.

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Kerry's support team at Mental Health Review Tribunal's HQ at Gladesville 

The case had last been heard in December 2019, when a three month community treatment order (CTO)  was made against her. Kerry’s primary carer, Justice Action, opposed the six-month CTO requested by the Health Department. It continued at the Mental Health Review Tribunal offices in Gladesville with the JA mental team in support.

Kerry, with pastor David Austen, and the Health department was present at the hearing via audio-visual link while on site at Penrith Nepean Hospital.

The Tribunal recognised our right to inspect the file under s.156 Mental Health Act, and thereby ruled for the Health Department files to be opened. For those who have been following the case, Kerry has been struggling to retain autonomy over her mental health and life despite the continued disrespect of the Health industry imposing on her their medication with damaging side effects.

She has a history of forced injections, and gaps of being left alone over many years. During her six-month trip to Ireland in 2019, visiting friends and relatives, she displayed no signs of distress, and took full responsibility controlling her own life.

Justice Action went into the hearing with the intention of laying the basis for the implementation of the Personal Management Plan (PMP). This PMP, designed with Kerry, aims to enhance and provide her with the right to autonomy over her own life and mental health. The combination of medical and social intervention strategies in the PMP is an effective alternative to the forced injections carried out under the CTO.

After deliberation regarding the rights of Justice Action to access Kerry’s medical documents, the Tribunal recognised Justice Action’s entitlement to access the documents as Kerry’s representative, while also being advised of the potential implications it could have on Kerry’s therapeutic relationship.

The case was adjourned until March 26 for hearing. We are still negotiating with the Penrith Mental Health Service about conditions of access to the file.

Justice Action is preparing the basis for an appeal to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Kerry's index page here

 

Current Campaigns

JA CAMPAIGNS LIST

Justice Action proposes and agitates for change in social justice policies. To achieve change we focus, analyse and publish our views as the basis for action. Report 2009 Report 2008-9 Also below is a list of our campaigns. Each brief summarises a position paper often elsewhere on the website.

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Failures of Imprisonment

Justice Reform Initiatives

LATEST NEWS

NORWEGIAN TRANSFORMATION

Justice Action has prepared a package of four research papers to change the culture of imprisonment. They represent a new paradigm of prisoner responsibility and empowerment dealing with the issues of recidivism and safe resettlement in the community. They propose that time in prison becomes a period of active development before release, and the rhetoric of corrective services becomes a reality rather than its accepted failure.

The draft papers follow international consultation with stakeholders and experts in the field. They have been personally distributed to almost all jurisdictions in the English-speaking world. We call on prison policy makers and administrators to respond to the ideas with the same constructive spirit that has been offered. 

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Nordic Prisons: A Model for Australia

'Chalk and Cheese' compares the development of the prison system in Norway with the current system in this country. The Community Justice Coalition launched the book on the 24th of November 2017. It demonstrates how the Norwegian experience can be used as a model for the transformation of prison systems to deliver more positive results and a safer community. 

The Norwegian prison system in the 1980s closely resembled that of Australia’s, narrowly focused on retributive justice. Following a number of incidents, Norway introduced significant reforms prioritising prisoner rehabilitation. These reforms have proved successful and have significantly reduced the recidivism rate to one of the lowest in the world at 20%. We believe Australia is capable of doing the same.

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Consultation: Prisoners Strike

Media release: Prisoners Strike Consultation – International Prison Justice Day

August 10, 2011

"Justice Action announced today, August 10, International Prison Justice Day the launch of a consultation for a prisoners strike possibly extending to mental health patients, and others held in detention" said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.


"Strikes by powerless people held in custody are the ultimate weapon available to them. They are a cry of desperation and have a long history of anguish and pain. Justice Action has been asked by detainees for many years to coordinate such an action in their fight to being recognised as people with human rights and dignity. Prisoners and their families are frustrated by the lies and contempt. The question is raised: 'Have governments lost their moral authority to imprison their citizens?'" said Mr Collins.

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Stop Building New Prisons

The Construction of More Prisons in Australia

Historical Context:
Many prisons in Australia were built by convict labour in the 1800s. During the 1990s various state governments in Australia engaged private sector correctional corporations to build and operate prisons whilst several older government run institutions were decommissioned. Operation of federal detention centres was also privatised at a time when a large influx of illegal immigrants began to arrive in Australia.

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International Prison Justice Day


International Prisoners’ Justice Day August 10, marks the anniversary of the 1974 death of Eddie Nalon, a prisoner who bled to death in a solitary confinement unit at Millhaven Maximum Security Prison, Canada, when the emergency call button in his cell failed to work.

An inquest later found that the call button in that unit had been deactivated by the guards. The following year prisoners at Millhaven marked the anniversary of Eddie’s death by fasting and refusing to work. By May, 1976, the call buttons had not yet been repaired. Bobby Landers was the next to die in one of those cells. With no way to call for help, all he could do was scribble a note that described the symptoms of a heart attack.

What started as a one-time event behind the walls of Millhaven Prison has become an international day of solidarity.

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Open Prison Project

“Unfortunately, society in general and prison authorities, in particular, treat prisoners as outcastes”
(The Dalai Lama, 1999)

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Prisoner Strike

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"Prisoners of NSW have asked Justice Action to coordinate a statewide strike in response to a series of attacks. Rights to privacy, clean air, procedural fairness before punishment, education, judicial certainty, health, hope and recovery are being trampled without resistance. We have continually put these issues to government but have been treated with contempt. The documents are on our website. Prisoners say: 'We are citizens not slaves. We say No!’ The strike was launched at a news conference in Trades Hall at 12 noon, Thursday August 6 (2015)”.

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Miriam Merten Mental Hospital Death Inquiry Media Release 22nd December 2017

Whitewash Merten Death Mental Report

Media Release: Friday December 22nd 2017

 

The Review by the Chief Psychiatrist following the death of patient Miriam Merten at Lismore Hospital, made very serious criticisms of the NSW Mental Health System, but didn’t make a single recommendation that would prevent its reoccurrence. The 19 Recommendations missed the point entirely, just offering more money without changing any of the dynamics. That is unsurprising as the problems are deep-seated cultural ones, and the so called independent review is by insiders who are part of the system” said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.

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