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Jesuit Social Services questions logic of prison expansion

The head of Jesuit Social Services (JSS) has asked why Victoria is building extra prison cells while Victoria has the lowest crime rate in Australia.

"You have to ask why Victoria is building 900 more prison cells rather than providing better child protection and mental health services," asked JSS Executive Director, Bernie Geary.

Mr Geary's comments follow yesterday's release of a Victorian Council of Social Service report that shows that Victoria has the lowest recorded rate of assault, sexual assault and unlawful entry and low relative rates of homicide, robbery and other theft.

"Our current research studies are indicating that total expenditure on prisons in Victoria more than doubled in the last ten years, with much lower rates of increase for mental health services," he said.

Meanwhile Peter Coghlan, who manages Jesuit Social Services' Brosnan Centre, said he knows young people turning to his centre for assistance following a prison sentence, have not been provided with the mental health care they need, either before they went to prison or during their imprisonment.

"We are assisting teenagers as young as seventeen who have been sent to adult prisons for property offences who are deeply traumatised by their experience of prison life."

Jesuit Social Services

Jesuit Social Services
Victorian Council of Social Service
Jesuit spells out lessons of stockbroker Rivkin's detention (11/6/03)

12 Jun 2003