Page 1118 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 16 March 2005

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offending behaviour. The programs are intended, and deliberately so, to reduce recidivism—such things as anger management, sexual deviance, a whole stack of things like that to stop people going back into the system. The programs are intended to restore the prisoner into his or her community, not just releasing a rehabilitated prisoner.

Restorative justice is also about restoring a damaged family unit and restoring a community after damage has been perpetrated on it. It is a holistic approach to restoration. It is not about rehabilitating someone or about chucking them in a jail. It is a holistic approach to reducing criminality and recidivism.

Mr Speaker, one of the things Mr Seselja said which was quite accurate was that there are differing figures in terms of recidivism and success rates for males and females. One of the reasons for that, in my view, is that we have tended to concentrate similar programs for both sexes in prisons within New South Wales and other jurisdictions, and that actually has been proven not to be efficacious. What happens is that males respond to one-on-one programs, and women respond to group programs.

What has to happen is that we need to develop these programs in the context of the demographic that we are dealing with, having regard to their restoration into the community. We need to have, for example, programs that have a person on release with good behaviour, coupled with reparation. One is reminded of when one was a kid, breaking a window at a friend’s house and having to mow the lawn for six months in reparation for doing that; and all is forgiven at the end of the six months of the lawn mowing.

The same thing has to happen with the community. They have to see that reparation is being made. They need to see the success of the individual. Ms Porter points eloquently to the success of that where we have got a victim employing a perpetrator of a crime against that victim. How successful is that restoration? How successful is that community?

We have to understand that restorative justice at the moment, the way we employ it, is about diversionary activity and directing it towards the young people at the moment and, then, when that works, we will go more into adults and split it into males and females. And on we go.

I hail the introduction of restorative justice principles into the corrective services system within the ACT. I hail it heartily because we will start to put into reality the embracing of this philosophy. I predict that if this is dropped, people will say, “It does not work. We will go back to warehousing.” What warehousing does, in fact, is harden criminals. It does not teach them any better. In fact, they are idiots because they are in there. My father said, “There is no such thing as a good crook. I you are going to be a crook, be a good one. You are never going to be a good one because, if you get caught, you are stupid. You are stupid for starting the thing in the first place.”

We need to address recidivism from the beginning, and that is what Ms Porter is actually espousing in her motion. I congratulate her very much for that. I also congratulate corrective services for folding the mindset of restorative justice into the creation and the fabric of this prison. If people want to have a look at the proposed layout, they will see that it is not that piece of hardened concrete that we affectionately know as Goulburn

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