Expert Comment On Reoffending

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31st August 2010, 04:14pm - Views: 896

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Expert comment on reoffending –

RMIT University’s Associate Professor Julian Bondy says the latest ABS figures on

reoffending rates raise difficult questions for Australia’s justice system.

“If prisons do not deter crime, if they do not rehabilitate offenders, if they do not

serve justice for the victims, and if they do not promote civilised social interaction

by reducing the amount of offenders, then it is quite legitimate to ask – what

purpose do they serve?” Associate Professor Bondy said.

The study of Australia's prison populations by the Australian Bureau of Statistics

found reoffending rates have remained almost unchanged, with more than half of

prisoners having spent time in jail before.

The study covered prison census data from 1994 to 2007 and found about 56 per

cent of prisoners had been in prison before by 2007, a drop of just 4 per cent since


“It’s tempting to assume that the more people behind bars, the less crime there will

be,” Associate Professor Bondy said.

“But despite public expectations to the contrary, there is no clear cause and effect.

In fact, these latest figures reinforce the problematic nature of prisons as places

whose objective is to assist in positive reintegration for offenders. 

“These figures are not unique to the Australian criminal justice system.

“It has been well established internationally that current laws and justice system

practices exacerbate crime, unnecessarily damage the lives of millions of people

and waste billions of dollars every year. 

“The continued and growing over-representation of Indigenous Australians in our

prison system represents a national tragedy.

“We should be ashamed that nearly 20 years after the Royal Commission into

Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, its recommendation that imprisonment should be

used only as a sanction of last resort seems to have been by and large ignored.”

Associate Professor Bondy researches in criminal justice and has conducted

extensive evaluations of strategies to reduce re-offending.

He is available for interview.

For interviews: RMIT University’s Associate Professor Julian Bondy, 0411

260 866.

For general media enquiries: RMIT University Communications, Gosia

Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.

31 August, 2010

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