NSW Reforms Point Way To Reducing High Rate Of Indigenous Incarceration

This article originally appeared in The Australian on 28 July 2017.

A report from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows the incarceration of indigenous Australians in that state has increased by 25 per cent since 2013. The report attributes this rise to more indigenous people being charged with, and imprisoned for, stalking and intimidation ­offences, defendants spending more time on remand and more ­breaches of good behaviour bonds and suspended sentences leading to imprisonment.

Recent reforms announced by the NSW government will help. In May, the government unveiled plans to abolish suspended sentences and expand the use of intensive corrections orders, giving judges more options for ­imposing conditions on low-risk offenders, such as home detention, curfews and movement ­restrictions.

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Lionel Messi is a White-Collar Criminal

This piece originally appeared on the IPA FreedomWatch blog on 9 June 2017.

Lionel Messi is in Melbourne with his Argentinian teammates to play Brazil at the MCG tonight. But should he actually be locked up in a Spanish jail?

Messi was convicted last year of evading millions of euros in taxes. His appeal was denied last month and his sentence of 21 months in prison and a €2 million fine was upheld. Messi, however, is likely to avoid jail because in Spain, first offences carrying sentences of less than two years are usually suspended.

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Changes could reduce reoffending for low-risk criminals

This article originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 16 May 2017.

The NSW government continues to lead the way on innovative criminal justice policy. Having last year committed $3.8 billion to new and improved prisons, the government is now pivoting to reforms designed to reduce the need for further prison spending over the longer-term, by lowering reoffending and improving community safety.

The government last week announced a package of reforms, including the abolition of suspended sentences and a new procedure for managing offenders released on parole. While prison is absolutely necessary for violent criminals, these reforms acknowledge that for those criminals we do release into the community, we need more options for managing their behaviour.

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Locking Down Crime

This article originally appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 28 April 2017.

Community safety is the highest priority of the criminal justice system and the NSW government can be proud of the latest batch of crime statistics.

Robbery and theft have declined 13 per cent from the last quarter of 2016.Other serious crimes such as murder and assault are stable. This stands in stark contrast to Victoria where serious crime is skyrocketing, up 20 percent over the past two years.

When it comes to reducing crime in Australia, NSW is leading the way. Building on this success, the government now has the opportunity to launch a wide-ranging criminal justice reform program.

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Criminal Justice Reform Does Not Start In Jails

This piece originally appeared in the West Australian on 7 April 2017.

The new WA Government has said that it cannot afford to build a new $600 million prison planned by the previous government.

But this cost cannot be avoided simply by letting people out of prison. Criminal justice reform must always be about maximising community safety. Continue reading

Four Year Terms Are A Bad Idea

This piece originally appeared on the Spectator Australia website on 24 February 2017. It was co-authored with Daniel Wild of the Institute of Public Affairs.

The election of Donald Trump, the vote for Brexit, and the return of One Nation have all threatened the centre-right status quo, while on the left, throwback leaders like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have emerged. All of these movements share one key belief: that government no longer represents the people.

It would seem a bizarre time, then, to propose reducing the frequency of elections with the explicit aim of freeing those same unrepresentative politicians from scrutiny so they can “get more done”. But this is exactly what Liberal MP David Coleman proposes. Continue reading