On the prison industry

Maire Mannik writes: “Supply and remand: why are our prison populations ballooning?“(Thursday)

The acual figures on remand are very disturbing. A few years ago a report was published by Judge Peggy Hora for the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet. It revealed that of those in reman,d over two thirds were either acquitted or ended up with a non custodial sentence. The ones who did receive prison sentences often ended up with one shorter than the time they had spent in remand.

It is also not uncommon for trials to be delayed for three years or more so if the prosecution offer the chance of a shorter sentence it makes sense for an innocent person to plead guilty. Then there are cases where the person has spent years in remand only to have the prosecution withdraw all charges just before the long delayed trial starts. These are all examples of grave injustice, let alone the immense cost involved.

On Wayne Swan

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Wayne Swan is the closest thing Labor has to Bernie Sanders“(Thursday)

Not quite, Helen. In 2013, when Federal Labor was in government, Wayne voted against increasing the value of the dole but for a 35% increase in MPs pay. He voted to massively tighten up DSP requirements and voted for kicking off sole parents from their pension when their child turned eight even though he knew the real unemployment figures showed  one vacancy for every 20 unemployed. Many sole parents then had to sleep in their cars, couch surf, work in massage parlours and some committed suicide. Wayne has $6 million plus in his defined benefits pension scheme and owns a large number of properties. Wayne is certainly not part of the plutocratic aristocracy but he is certainly part of Labor’s “New Class” which is the dominant and wealthy class within the Labor movement and “New Class” members are on incomes most workers can only dream of. 

On Turkey and Syria

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Turkey sets the stage for its invasion of Kurdish Syria” (Thursday)

“This treaty was supplanted by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which carved the current borders from the region, which contributed to the Armenian Genocide”

The Armenian Genocide, omitting preceding atrocities against Armenians, is conventionally dated from 1914 or 1915 to 1923. By that year the Armenians of Anatolian Turkey had almost entirely disappeared. It’s difficult to see how borders set by a treaty signed in the middle of 1923 contributed to it. If there is any link, perhaps it’s the other way around?

 

Peter Fray

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