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Jesuits' Vietnamese 'crimefighter' loses government funding

A Federal Government funding cut threatens to end the work of the "most experienced" Vietnamese-born worker in the Victorian criminal justice system, following an explosive growth in the number of prisoners born in Vietnam.

"Hieu Nguyen is one of the most effective crime prevention workers in Australia and has for the last ten years guided many young Vietnamese offenders away from criminal behaviour after their release," said Jesuit Social Services Director Fr Peter Norden.

"State and Federal Government need to increase the resources to the Vietnamese community, rather than pursue policies that could be seen as discriminatory and racist," he continued.

Fr Norden quoted figures published yesterday in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, which detail the increase in Vietnamese-born prisoners in Victoria from 0.5% in 1988 to 5.1% in 1998.

He quoted the finding of co-author Dr Nick Crofts, who said that instead of receiving drug treatment, young Vietnamese-born offenders were being sent to prisons where they were at risk of physical assaults and rapes.

Jesuit Social Services
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