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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4732 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

as constructive citizens in our community and to be more likely to be engaged in some kind of anti-social behaviour.

So when you actually look at what is happening in our society, and understand where that crime is coming from, it is pretty obvious that you are not going to be serving the society as a whole if you continue to just focus on this notion of punishment and incarceration. Obviously, if people are in extreme danger to the community, then you have to protect the community from them, and there are some people for which there is no other option than to incarcerate them.

But a much larger group of people who come into contact with the criminal justice system do not fall into that category. If you want to support them in a way that is rehabilitative-and we cannot pretend that that would be the case in any prison in Australia at this point in time-you should actually support them and skill them up, give them opportunities to become employed, work with their substance abuse or their mental illness, with their intellectual disability. That is also a group that is unfortunately quite highly represented in the prison population. If you have services that support these people and so on, that is how you go about preventing crime.

There has been a crime committed, though, and we are past that. You have these very complex social problems evident in the person concerned; you know that by incarcerating that person you will only make those problems worse; you know that that person will be released back into the community-Mr Stefaniak hasn't at this point, as far as I know, wanted to lock up everyone forever, although we are getting a bit close to it with some parts of this bill; but, as far as I know, that is not the desire of the Liberals at this point-you know what happens. Those people have been brutalised by that experience. That is the very issue that we are getting to when we talk about allowing the community and the government of the day to take the opportunity to have a really thoughtful look at sentencing.

Jon Stanhope announced last year that he had initiated this review of sentencing. We have also seen a major statement from him regarding restorative justice, and that notion is being further developed. I am very proud to be able to support initiatives such as that and am very grateful that in fact I have the opportunity to do so because I think this Legislative Assembly is unique in having someone showing leadership in this area.

MR PRATT (8.21): I rise to support this bill. I rise essentially to talk about how utterly frustrated ACT police are and how frustrated I am on behalf of victims of crime who go into court and see an offender who has been convicted of a serious offence walk away with a bond, or some other form of minimal punishment. Some offenders have been known to throw this back in the face of police, knowing full well that our court system and our justice system are overlenient. It is pretty damn depressing, and difficult, for police to put out of their minds the fact that they do a lot of hard work and often endure extensive cross-examination only to see the offender walk free after being convicted.

Police have a lesser problem when they know someone is not guilty, or found not guilty, especially if that occurs by jury. They accept that. That is part of the process. It is more frustrating for police to see someone walk away with very little penalty, especially when they know full well the magnitude of the crime the person has committed. I get this

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