$17.63 – $41.55

IQ2 Debate: Prisons Work

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Sydney Town Hall

483 George Street

Sydney, NSW 2000

Australia

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In the last five years, the number of people in custody has risen by a third. Australia's 39,000 prisoners cost over $3.5 billion last financial year.

Is the investment paying off? Do prisons work?

Prisons serve a range of purposes. They should deter people from committing crimes, rehabilitate offenders, protect the community and punish offenders in proportion to what they’ve done.

But a quick scan of the media shows plenty of times when prisons seem to miss the mark.

One punch laws in NSW introduced lengthy sentences for alcohol fuelled violence, but is anyone really thinking about consequences when they drunkenly attack someone?

Around half of prisoners are repeat offenders, suggesting rehabilitation isn’t working. Plus, images of abuse in correctional facilities and stories of deaths in police custody make it hard to see prisons working in an inmate’s best interests.

Every time a criminal out on parole harms the community, people ask whether the system is actually keeping us safe.

But seeing criminals being punished gives victims, their loved ones and the wider community a sense of justice. It makes a clear statement about our common values and the kinds of behaviour we refuse to tolerate.

Are prisons the best way to deal with crime? Are they in need of reform? Or should we lock our prison doors and throw away the key?

Keep an eye out as we finalise details for a fresh debate about criminal justice in Australia.

SPEAKERS

FOR

Kerry Tucker served five years in prison for theft and fraud. While incarcerated, she earned a Masters of Arts and became the first Australian inmate to have a graduation ceremony inside. Once released, Kerry became a lecturer in media studies at Swinburne University and advocate for women prisoners. She says prisons are working as social support services for women inmates.

AGAINST

Julian Burnside AO QC is an Australian barrister, author and human rights advocate. He is passionate about the arts and well known for his positions on refugees. Julian’s legal work is mostly in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. He says the true principle of prison should be rehabilitation, but people come out worse than they go in.

More speakers to be announced shortly.

Student, pensioner and unemployment cards required for concession ticket holders. Pre-program drinks available for purchase in the Sydney Town Hall Vestibule. Doors open 6pm for a 6:30pm start.

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Sydney Town Hall

483 George Street

Sydney, NSW 2000

Australia

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