Saturday, September 24, 2011

Social Justice Sunday 2011 - 25 September

Building Bridges, Not Walls: Prisons and the justice system

It is time for all Australians to revisit the needs of prisoners, their loved ones and those who work with them. It is time to recommit ourselves to reducing the number of Australians held in prison, making better provision for ex-prisoners to become law-abiding and constructive citizens.It is time to knock down the walls of social exclusion that increase the prospects that a person will end up in jail. Before and after jail, we need bridges, not walls.

No crime can take away or diminish the fact that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. In the words of Sir Gerard Brennan, former Chief Justice of Australia: Prisoners, no less than the free, are our brothers and sisters and we have been silent too often when their human dignity has been diminished.

These quotes from the statement of the Australian Catholic Bishops for Social Justice Sunday should provoke discussion and review of the Australian criminal justice system by politicians and voters across our country.

Order form (pdf)
Summary (pdf)

I Was in Prison and You Visited Me

The number of people in prison in Australia (both sentenced and unsentenced) is increasing faster than population growth. At the same time, rates for most categories of offending are decreasing. These trends require us to pause and reflect on what is happening in our society and especially, who is most likely to be found in prison. The great majority of prisoners come from impoverished circumstances, often experiencing multiple disadvantage. However, most attention is given to the few high profile, even very wealthy, individuals who engage equally high profile legal advisers to secure their freedom.

The Social Justice Network has produced this resource to assist individuals and congregations to be aware of the alarming facts about prisons in Australia and to advocate for a more just society.
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