Dear Committee Members,
Inquiry into Tasmanian Adult Imprisonment and Youth Detention Matters
I am writing this letter regarding the current inquiry into Tasmanian adult imprisonment and youth detention matters. I note the Committee was given the following Terms of Reference:
To inquire into and report upon Tasmanian corrective services and justice system matters related to adult imprisonment and youth detention including:
- Factors influencing increases in Tasmania’s prisoner population and associated costs;
- The use of evidence-based strategies to reduce contact with the justice system and recidivism;
- The provision of, and participation in, services for people in prison and leaving prison (health housing and legal services);
- Training and support initiatives for corrective service staff related to increasing individual well-being, professionalism, resilience and reduced absenteeism;
- Innovations and improvements to the management and delivery of corrective services that may be applied in Tasmania, including to future prison/detention centre design; and
- Any other incidental matters.
These Terms of Reference are specifically relevant to my area of expertise as well as new research into incarceration in Tasmania conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs.
I was Dean of Law at Swinburne University, Melbourne, from 2019 to 2022, and have worked in Australia and internationally as a renowned expert in punishment and sentencing. I have authored over 30 books and 200 articles on sentencing reform published in the top three per cent of leading Australian and international journals. This research has been cited in over 100 court judgments in both the High Court of Australia and superior courts internationally.
Until March 2023, I collaborated in a research partnership with the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). The IPA is the most prominent research organisation investigating the emerging incarceration crisis in Australia. Relevantly, the IPA has conducted new analysis of the incarceration problems facing Tasmania specifically. The findings of this research are enclosed in this letter.
Given this background, I hope you will consider exercising your discretion to invite myself and a representative of the IPA to appear as witnesses before the Committee at the public hearing for the inquiry to discuss this research.