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									A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System




                                                                       A report by the UnitingCare Qld
                                                                          Centre for Social Justice

                                                                   A Guide to the Queensland
                                                                    Criminal Justice System
                                                                                        November 2007




                                                           For more information contact:
                                                    UnitingCare Centre for Social Justice
                                                                Level 5, 193 North Quay
                                                                  BRISBANE QLD 4000
                                                                           GPO Box 45
                                                                  BRISBANE QLD 4001
                                                               Telephone 07 3025 2013
                                                                      Fax 07 3025 2099
                                                      uc.socialjustice@ucareqld.com.au
                                                     www.ucareqld.com.au/SocialJustice
   The information in this report can be used to further knowledge and services within the
community. Any photocopying of parts of the document should include where the information
                          has come from and the date of publication.


                 Written by Courtney Egel for the Centre for Social Justice,
                       Level 5, 193 North Quay, BRISBANE Q 4000
                                     (07) 3025 2013


              Published by UnitingCare Queensland Centre for Social Justice,
                       Level 5, 193 North Quay, BRISBANE Q 4000
                                     (07) 3025 2013


                                            2007




           I would like to acknowledge the following people for their contribution:
               Greg Mackay and Tilly Igras for their supervision and editing.
             Matilda Alexandra, Coordinator of Prisoner’s Legal Service (PLS);
               Mark Conway, Senior Social Worker of Aboriginal and Torres
                            Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS);
             and Alicia Eugene, manager of Throughcare and External Services
                          for their time during the interview process.
                                        CONTENTS

THE QUEENSLAND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM                             4
 What is the criminal justice system?                              5


QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE                                          6
 How does one come into contact with the police?                   6
 If an offence is committed…                                       6
 Going to court…                                                   7
 Bail considered                                                   7


QUEENSLAND COURTS                                                  8
 Magistrates Court                                                 8
 The District Court                                                8
 The Supreme Court                                                 9
 The Court Process                                                 9
 Chart 1. Queensland Court Process                                10
 Committal hearing before a magistrate                            11
 Table 1. Commits matter for trial in District or Supreme Court   12
 Sentencing options                                               13


QUEENSLAND CORRECTIVE SERVICES                                    14
 Queensland Prisons                                               14
 Prison locations                                                 15
 Entering a prison…                                               18
 Table 2: Queensland Prisons Security Levels                      19
 In-prison supports, rehabilitation options and opportunities     20
 Post-prison support                                              23


OBSERVATIONS OF INJUSTICES ENCOUNTERED BY
MARGINALISED CITIZENS                   24

REFERENCES                                                        27

APPENDICIES                                                       29
           THE QUEENSLAND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Over the past four years, the Centre for Social Justice has focussed on criminal justice as
one of its key priorities. The Centre is particularly concerned about injustices perpetrated
in the criminal justice system. As a result of this, two studies, each resulting in
significant reports, have been published. This first report (published in 2004) is titled
‘INCorrections: Investigating prison release practice and policy in Queensland and its
impact on community safety’. The INCorrections report focuses on one aspect of prison
policy and practice – how the release of prisoners is managed and what impacts this
management may have. The second report, published in 2007, titled ‘No Vagrancy: An
examination of the impact of the criminal justice system on people living in poverty in
Queensland’. This report investigates the extent to which people living in poverty
interact with, and are affected by, the workings of the criminal justice system in
Queensland.

The Centre continues to engage in criminal justice issues, such as the pressing need to
remove 17-year olds from adult prisons, and the need to reduce the number of youth in
remand. Furthermore, the Centre is engaging in education and dialog with the public
about the injustices of imprisonment and the inadequacy of post-prison supports. Within
this context, the Centre brings people from a range of professional occupations and life
experience to work on these issues.

This project aims to provide an introduction for such people to the criminal justice system
in a relatively factual way. It furthermore aims at noting the more obvious and
unintended impacts of the system on marginalised people. This project primarily maps
the process throughout the Criminal Justice System, i.e., the Police Service, the Courts,
and Prisons. I commence by looking at the initial questioning and arrest, through dealing
with the police, and move to the court system, thence to prison and finally consider post
prison supports. Possible paths through the system will be mapped and explained. The
project will then continue to look at how people who are marginalised may be
discriminated against and disadvantaged further within this system.




                      A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System Page 4 of 30
                      What is the criminal justice system?

The criminal justice system is designed to protect members of the community and their
property. It is also designed to deal appropriately with people who do not obey the law
(The Australasian Police, 2005). The main role of the criminal justice system is to
determine whether a person’s actions or behaviour form a criminal offence (Australasian
Police, 2005). The criminal justice system is divided into three separate sections. These
include the investigative process, which involves investigations by State or Federal
Police; the adjudicative process, where a case is taken before the courts to be heard and a
penalty is imposed; and the correctional stage, where an offender completes a term of
community service or serves his or her sentence in prison or some other correctional
system (Australasian Police, 2005).




                     A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 5 of 30
                     QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE


           How does one come into contact with the police?

The police can be identified as the ‘gatekeepers’ of the criminal justice system. They
are the most publicly accessible and visible body that enforces the law. Once an
offence is committed or an incident is investigated, the most common law
enforcement agency that individuals have contact with is the police. Police are quite
often seen patrolling our streets, our roads, shopping centres, malls, etc. There are
numerous reasons why individuals may come into contact with the police. The most
obvious reason would be if one commits an offence. However, one may also come
into contact with the police for several reasons. This includes where the police
suspect them of committing an offence, if they believe an individual or group is
behaving in a disorderly manner, if they require certain information from individuals,
or for any other reason deemed necessary.



                          If an offence is committed …

In Queensland, criminal offences can be divided into two broad categories. These are
identified as simple offences; and crimes and misdemeanours. Simple offences
include disorderly behaviour, traffic offences and minor criminal offences. Crimes
and misdemeanours are classed as indictable offences, and they include more serious
offences, such as murder, rape, robbery, assault and break and enter (Queensland
Government, 2002).


(Refer to Appendix 1. for extended definitions of criminal offences).



If an individual commits an offence and the police have gathered sufficient evidence,
they can then charge that individual with a criminal offence. Under the Queensland
law, after the charge has been laid, the police must bring the accused person to court
as soon as possible (Queensland Courts, 2002). The police have the following powers
when it comes to arresting or charging an individual:



                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 6 of 30
Under section 365 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, it is lawful for
a police officer, without warrant, to arrest an adult the police officer reasonably
suspects has committed or is committing an offence. The officer must decide that the
arrest is reasonably necessary for one or more of the following reasons:

a) to prevent the continuation or repetition of an offence or the commission of
   another offence;
b) to make inquiries to establish the person's identity;
c) to ensure the person's appearance before a court;
d) to obtain or preserve evidence relating to the offence;
e) to prevent the harassment of, or interference with, a person who may be required
   to give evidence relating to the offence;
f) to prevent the fabrication of evidence;
g) to preserve the safety or welfare of any person, including the person arrested;
h) to prevent a person fleeing from a police officer or the location of an offence.



                                     Going to court…

Once an offence has been committed, and a charge has been laid, the accused
individual will be taken to court as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the
court to decide the punishment of the offender (refer to sentencing options for
punishment details).



                                      Bail considered

A person that has been arrested may be granted bail* (The Queensland Government,
2007). This means that they are released from custody subject to conditions. Bail
enables the accused to be released from custody while awaiting trial or sentencing
(Queensland Courts, 2002).


*Not everyone is granted bail. The Court has to consider each case individually.




                    A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 7 of 30
                             QUEENSLAND COURTS

The courts are where most disputes and criminal cases are decided (Department of
Justice and Attorney General, 2007). ‘The courts are of two basic types: state (set up
under state laws) and federal (set up under federal laws)’ (Department of Justice and
Attorney General 2007, 1). The federal courts tend to handle matters that are not
covered by state law. These courts include the Family court, the Federal court and the
High court (Department of Justice and Attorney General, 2007).


The state court is generally responsible for the administration of justice, where a vast
majority of disputes and offences are handled (Department of Justice and Attorney
General, 2007). The state court has three levels, the Magistrates Court, the District
Court and the Supreme Court. There are many courts throughout the state of
Queensland, and assuming that bail has not been granted the Magistrates court is the
first step in the court process.



                                    Magistrates Court

All criminal matters originally start in the Magistrates Court. The Magistrate must
decide whether there is enough evidence against the accused for the case to go to trial
(Queensland Courts, 2004). The Queensland Courts (2004, 1) maintain ‘if the
Magistrate is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence for a trail to occur, the matter is
committed for trial. The seriousness of the case determines whether the case will be
heard in the Supreme or District Court’.



                                    The District Court

The District Court is the next step from the Magistrates Court. This is the first stage
in the court system where a jury is involved (Department of Justice and Attorney
General, 2007). The District Court deals with more serious criminal offences, such as
rape, armed robbery or fraud. It also hears appeals from cases decided in the
Magistrates Court (Department of Justice and Attorney General, 2007).




                    A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 8 of 30
                                  The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest court in Queensland. This form of court deals with
the most serious matters, such as murder, manslaughter and serious drug offences
(Department of Justice and Attorney General, 2007). The Supreme Court (like the
District Court) uses a jury to decide if the accused is guilty or not (Department of
Justice and Attorney General, 2007).


(Refer to Appendix 5. for a visual representation of Queensland’s Court Hierarchy).

                                  The Court Process

The following chart (Chart 1.) visually represents the court process in Queensland.
The chart highlights a typical process that an individual may go through once they are
charged with committing an offence.


*It is important to note that for offenders between the ages of 10-17 years, the
criminal justice process is different (Refer to Appendix 2. for that chart explaining the
Juvenile Justice Process in Australia).




                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 9 of 30
                       Chart 1: Queensland Court Process


                                                                                         Juvenile Justice Process
                                                                                         (Refer to Appendix 2: for
                                                                                         Juvenile Justice Process
                                                                                         Chart)


        Not guilty
                                                                                  Guilty




                                                                                  Drug Court


                                                                                  Murri Court


                                                                                Special Circumstances
                                                                                Court




*Chart provided by the Queensland Government (2006). Red (lighter) inclusions provided by
author.




                     A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 10 of 30
As mentioned above, the court process begins in the Magistrates court. In most cases
if the accused plead’s guilty the matter is dealt with in the Magistrates court. It could
also be dealt with in the Drug Court, the Murri Court, or the Special Circumstances
Court. If the accused pleads not guilty they will be required to sit a committal
hearing before a magistrate.



                   Committal hearing before a magistrate

A committal hearing is a hearing in a Magistrates Court, which determines whether
there is enough evidence for a trail to be held in a higher court, such as the Supreme
or District Court. During a committal hearing witnesses may be required to give
evidence (Queensland Government, 2006).


*The Magistrate can dismiss matters and charges can be discontinued. The
Queensland Government (2006, 1) maintain that ‘charges are ‘discontinued when
they are no longer going to proceed in the court’. When charges are discontinued,
the accused no longer needs bail to remain out of jail and will not stand trial or be
sentenced on those charges’.


(Refer to Appendix 3. for more details on a committal hearing and for a
comprehensive look at the court process for criminal cases)

If the matter is committed for trail in the District or Supreme Court, the following
diagram (Table 1.) provides a brief guideline to the procedures next involved in the
court process.




                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 11 of 30
             Table 1: Commits matter for trial in District or Supreme Court

Pleading Guilty
If the accused pleads guilty (which means
                                                  Not guilty/No plea
                                                  If the accused pleads not guilty (which
they admit to committing the offence), there
                                                  means they do not admit to committing
has to be a hearing to decide the sentence.
                                                  the offence) they still have to go to
This sentence hearing can be heard in the
                                                  trial. However, ‘because it is not
Magistrates Court, the District Court or the
                                                  practical to keep everyone who is
Supreme Court (Queensland Courts, 2002).
                                                  charged with a crime in prison while
                                                  they await trial, some people are
                                                  granted bail’ (Queensland Courts 2002,
                                                  31).

Sentenced in District or Supreme                  Trial date set
Court                                             (Date is set for the trial)                      Date set for pre-
                                                                                                   recording of evidence
                                                                                                   for ‘affected child
                                                                                                   witnesses’


                                                  Trial (before judge and jury)                    Pre-recording of
                                                  Witnesses will be called                         evidence for ‘affected
                                                                                                   child witnesses’
                                                                                                   (prior to trial)



                                                                                                   Not guilty verdict
                                                                                                   Charges dismissed
Possible appeal (to Court of Appeal               Guilty verdict and sentenced
on conviction and/or sentence)                    If the jury (or, in a less serious case the
                                                  magistrate) has found the accused
                                                                                                             EXIT THE
                                                  guilty as charged, the court then                          SYSTEM
                                                  decides how the guilty person is
                                                  sentenced (Queensland Courts, 2002).


Possible appeal (to High Court on
conviction and/or sentence)




                               A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 12 of 30
                                  Sentencing options

After one pleads guilty or if one has been found guilty following a hearing, the
sentencing procedures occur (AussieLegal, 2007). The matter of imposing a sentence
or punishment is for the presiding magistrate or judge to decide alone (AussieLegal,
2007). AussieLegal (2007, 2) states ‘in sentencing an offender, the magistrate/judge
has to balance the competing interests of society’s need for protection and deterrence
of criminal acts on the one hand, against the prospect of rehabilitating the offender on
the other’. When sentencing an offender, the magistrate or judge are required to
‘consider the personal circumstances of the offender, the reasons why the offence was
committed, and the rehabilitation prospects of the offender’ (AussieLegal 2007, 2). It
is for these reasons that one may see two people who have committed very similar
offences receive different sentences (AussieLegal, 2007).

There are a wide variety of sentencing options, such as receiving a Fine. An offender
can be ordered to pay a fine as a form of punishment for their offending behaviour
(AussieLegal, 2007). Other sentencing options include a Good Behaviour Bond,
Probation, Intensive Correction Orders, and Imprisonment.

A Good Behaviour Bond is a written promise by the offender to be of good behaviour
and not break the law for a specified period (AussieLegal, 2007). Probation is a
system of monitoring and supervision which is conducted by government
(AussieLegal, 2007). Community Service requires the offender to perform unpaid
work in the community (AussieLegal, 2007). ‘Intensive Correction orders are seen as
periods of imprisonment which are served in the community’ (AussieLegal 2007, 3).
Imprisonment means that an offender is immediately taken away and kept in custody
(AussieLegal, 2007).

(Refer to Appendix 4: for detailed sentencing options)




                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 13 of 30
               QUEENSLAND CORRECTIVE SERVICES


                           Goals of prison confinement

There are four main goals of prison confinement; these include Incapacitation,
Retribution, Rehabilitation and Deterrence. Incapacitation focuses on protecting
society from the individual and containing crime. Retribution embodies the principle
that a wrongful act must be ‘repaid’ by a punishment that is as severe as the wrongful
act, no more, no less. Rehabilitation is the notion that prisoners may be able to
acquire relevant post-prison skills and personal behaviours to assist in leading a
lawful life post prison. However it is an ambiguous concept surrounded by
controversy and misunderstanding; and Deterrence is aiming to deter the offender
from re-offending in the future (Bartol and Bartol, 1994).


(Refer to Appendix 6: for Goals of Prison Confinement)

                                  Queensland Prisons

Entering the prison system can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for many
offenders and their family members (Mulligan, 2007). Mulligan (2007, 1) maintains,
‘Prisons are extremely controlled, environments with many rules, regulations,
policies, procedures and legislation determining how they are run’. Currently, there
are 13 prisons situated throughout Queensland. Queensland Corrective Services
(QCS) operates 11 of those prisons (Mulligan, 2007). The other two (Author Gorrie
and Borallan) are privately run prisons, operated for profit. In most cases these two
prisons are subject to the same rules and regulations as the government operated
prisons (Mulligan, 2007).




                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 14 of 30
                                       Prison locations




*Map provided from Queensland Corrective Services (2006)
 Note: map does not show Brisbane Correctional Centre formerly known as Sir David Longland (SDL).


   Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre (AGCC) is located at 3068 Ipswich Road,
    Wacol. It has a capacity for 710 men and it also has the ability to hold prisoners at
    all three levels of classification: maximum high and low (Mulligan, 2007). AGCC
    currently serves as a ‘remand and reception’ centre for men (Mulligan, 2007). It
    contains almost all forms of custody, such as protection, youth, immigration and
    maximum security (Mulligan, 2007).


   Borallon Correctional Centre (Borallon CC) is located on Ivan Lane, Borallon.
    It has the capacity to hold up to 492 men (Mulligan, 2007). Borallon CC
    accommodates people who are sentenced to 5 years or less. Prisoners are also
    eligible to transfer to Borallon CC if they have 5 years or less left to serve.
    Borallan CC is a privately operated prison like AGCC (Mulligan, 2007).



                     A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 15 of 30
   Woodford Correctional Centre is located on Neurum Road, Woodford. At this
    current point, Woodford is the largest prison in Queensland. It has the capacity to
    hold 988 prisoners. Woodford currently accommodates prisoners who are serving
    a longer term sentence (5 years or more). Woodford prison runs offender
    programs, which are designed to assist in rehabilitation. It also offers both
    employment and education (Mulligan, 2007).


   Wolston Correctional Centre (WCC) is located on Grindle Road, Wacol.
    Mulligan (2007, 14) maintains:
       Wolston is a prison for sentenced male prisoners who have been designated as
       ‘protection’ due to their potential vulnerability within a mainstream
       population. This may be for reasons such as the nature of the crime committed
       (eg: sex offences, offences committed against children); that the prisoner
       might be aged or have a disability (intellectual/ physical); or internal prison
       conflict.
    Wolston prison has the ability to hold 600 male prisoners, and it also has the
    ability to run education, programs, training, and work programs (Mulligan, 2007).


   Maryborough Correctional Centre (MCC) is located on Stein Road, Aldershot.
    It is considered a ‘regional’ prison, and it is for both sentenced and remand
    prisoners (Mulligan, 2007). MCC has the capacity to hold 500 prisoners and ‘QCS
    states that education, training, offender programs and prisoner employment is
    available to prisoners’ (Mulligan 2007, 16).


   Brisbane Correctional Centre (BSS) (formerly known as Sir David Longland
    (SDL)). At this time, the SDL is closed for substantial refurbishment (Mulligan,
    2007). Mulligan (2007, 11) suggested that ‘the primary function of this prison
    will be a reception centre for sentenced male prisoners’.


   Lotus Glen Correctional Centre (LGCC) is located on Chettle Road, Mareeba.
    LGCC is the main correctional centre for far north Queensland. LGCC has the
    capacity to hold 496 prisoners (Mulligan, 2007). Mulligan states that ‘the majority



                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 16 of 30
    of prisoners in LGCC are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, as it is the closest
    prison to many of the remote Indigenous communities’(2007, 16). LGCC includes
    remand, reception, sentenced prisoners and a prison farm (Mulligan, 2007).


   Capricornia Correctional Centre (CCC) is located on the Bruce Highway,
    North Rockhampton. Like LGCC, CCC acts as an ‘all round’ prison as it has
    remand, reception, protection, sentenced prisoners and a prison farm (Mulligan,
    2007). CCC has the capacity to hold 498 prisoners.


   Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre (BW) is located on Grindle Road,
    Wacol. BW has a capacity of 258 women. It is a prison that has remand,
    reception, sentenced women, protective custody, young people and mainstream
    prisoners (Mulligan, 2007).


   Townsville Correctional Centre (TCC) is located on Dwyer Street, Stuart. ‘It
    has male and female prisoners, remand, reception, sentenced prisoners, youth,
    protection and a prison farm’ (Mulligan 2007, 19). TCC has the capacity to hold
    395 male and female prisoners. It includes Townsville Women’s Correctional
    Centre (TW), which is also located on Dwyer Street, Stuart. Essentially, TW
    offers the same as BW. It is important to note that TCC and TW are considered
    the same section; therefore they are classed as one prison.


   Darling Downs Correctional Centre is located in Toowoomba. It has a capacity
    of 140 male prisoners. Prisoners are required to work and develop work skills.
    They are also encouraged to participate in a range of programs including
    education, self-development and vocational training courses (Queensland
    Corrective Services, 2005).


   Numinbah prison is located in Nerang. It is a low security prison, and it has the
    capacity to hold 104 males, and 25 females (separate annexe). The focus is placed
    on community work and pre-released programs. Numinbah prison encourages a
    self-directed rehabilitation model (Queensland Corrective Services, 2005).




                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 17 of 30
   Palen Creek Correctional Centre is located in Rathdowney. It has a capacity of
    170 low security male prisoners. Palen Creek maintains a very interactive
    staff/prisoner management regime (Queensland Corrective Services, 2005).


                                   Entering a prison…

If you are being detained on remand (held in custody after being charged with an
offence, but yet to face court or sentence) or sentenced to a prison term, when you
first enter prison you will go through three steps. These are reception, induction and
classification (Department of Corrective Services, 2005).


Reception is where ‘someone has been found guilty, sentenced, and is now to be
officially ‘received’ into the prison system to begin serving their sentence’ (Mulligan
2007, 28). During the reception stage, personal details and physical description are
recorded. Police are also to hand over to prison staff the person’s property and money
(prisoners will receive a receipt for these items) (Department of Corrective Services,
2005).


During the induction step, prisoners are provided with information about prison
discipline, resources, facilities, programs, complaints, work, visits, mail and telephone
access (Department of Corrective Services, 2005).


In the classification step, prisoner’s security risks and personal needs are assessed.
Personal needs include health, cultural and educational issues. The security
classification will determine if prisoners will serve time in a high or low security
centre (Queensland Corrective Services, 2007(b)).


(Refer to Appendix 7: for information on entering a prison)


Queensland Corrective Services (2007(b), 5) states:
         High security centres have a secure perimeter to ensure containment.
         Approximately 70 per cent of the State’s incarcerated prisoners are held in
         these centres. Prisoners are managed according to their assessed security
         classification and particular needs with the provision of opportunities for


                    A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 18 of 30
        rehabilitation through participation in education, work, vocational training,
        and programs designed to address offending behaviour.


        Low security centres differ from high security in that there is less reliance on
        physical containment. To be placed in low security, prisoners require a low
        security classification and an assessment as part of their sentence
        management as to their suitability.


Table 2 shows the security level that each correctional facility in Queensland offers:

                  Table 2: Queensland Prisons Security Levels




*Chart provided from Queensland Corrective Services (2007(b))




                     A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 19 of 30
       In-prison supports, rehabilitation options and opportunities

As part of prisoner’s sentence management process they are required to complete
offender programs, which are designed to address their ‘offending behaviour’
(Mulligan, 2007). In addition to this, education and work options are also available to
certain prisoners.


Prison Work
Whilst in prison, QCS expects that prisoners work in the varying prison industries
(except for those on remand, or prisoners undertaking full time study). Despite the
fact that prison industries reduce the cost of running a prison, they also provide
prisoners with tools to assist in rehabilitation (such as learning new skills) (Mulligan,
2007). These industries include making furniture, and textiles (clothing and prison
uniforms). There are also other job opportunities available, such as doing the laundry,
jobs in the kitchen and cleaning the units (Mulligan, 2007). All prisoners engaging in
prison industries must be paid for the work they conduct (Mulligan, 2007). The kinds
of employment and training differ from prison to prison (Mulligan, 2007).


QCS procedures state that the correctional industries must:
       provide prisoners with meaningful work that meets community expectations;
       provide associated vocational education and training opportunities that will
        assist prisoners to obtain employment post release; and
       contribute to good order and effective management of corrective services
        facilities; and assist in reducing the cost of operating corrective facilities.
                                                                           (Mulligan 2007, 121)


It is important to note that vocational training and education means, ‘that prisoners
should be given the chance to officially ‘train up’ for the particular job or profession’
(Mulligan 2007, 121). This form of training is usually run through TAFE, and upon
completion, prisoners should be awarded a certificate.




                     A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 20 of 30
Prisoner education
When prisoners first arrive in prison, their skill level of reading, writing, numeracy,
and also their general level of education are assessed (Mulligan, 2007). Prisoners’
participation is based on assessed needs. Education is not necessarily available for
everyone. For example, prisoners on remand may be assessed for basic education.
However, this usually occurs in instances where the prisoner is deemed to have
special learning needs (Mulligan, 2007).


For prisoners who are serving fewer than 12 months (after the initial education
assessment) they may be further assessed for education activities (Mulligan, 2007).
Mulligan (2007, 126) maintains, ‘this will only occur if it’s considered ‘beneficial’
and if there are sufficient resources available’. It is important to note that there is no
guarantee of education for someone serving less than 12 months (Mulligan, 2007).


For a prisoner who is sentenced for over 12 months, if the initial assessment indicates
that there is a need for education training then they will be assessed further. An
education plan is worked out in their overall sentence plan. The types of education
available to certain prisoners include basic education, secondary education, tertiary
education and tertiary participation, and vocational education and training (practical
education) (Mulligan, 2007).


Offender programs
As mentioned above, offender programs are aimed at addressing prisoners’ offending
behaviours. These programs include:
     Turning Point, a preparatory program for general offending;
     Making Choices - Men, a moderate intensity men’s program for general
        offending;
     Getting SMART, a moderate intensity substance abuse program and Smart
        Recovery;
     Cognitive Self Change, a high intensity violent offender program;
     Getting Started, a preparatory program for sexual offending;
     Staying on Track, a sexual offending maintenance program;
     New Horizons, an Indigenous high intensity sexual offending program;
     New Directions, a medium intensity sexual offending program;


                     A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 21 of 30
    Crossroads, a high intensity sexual offending program; and
    Transitions, a release preparation program.


(Refer to Appendix 8: for brochures on available offender programs)

                                       Exiting prison

There are two ways to exit from prison. A prisoner can either exit prior to their full
time date (on Parole), or released when their full time has been served. Parole is the
only form of early release available to prisoners. ‘Prisoners sentenced to three years or
less (except sex offenders and serious violent offenders) are given a parole release
date by the sentencing court’ (Queensland Corrective Services 2007(a), 2).


Queensland Corrective Services is responsible for supervising prisoners on parole.
‘Parolees are subject to certain conditions; for example, they must report to their
Probation and Parole Office, attend rehabilitation programs, undergo drug testing and
abstain from alcohol’ (Queensland Corrective Services 2007(a), 2).


(Refer to Appendix 9: for information regarding Probation and Parole; and for
information regarding parole eligibility)




                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 22 of 30
                                   Post-prison support

The QCS has just recently introduced the ‘Offender Reintegration Support Service’.
The aim of the Offender Reintegration Support Service is to help prisoners achieve
their plans for resettlement into the community after release, and to help prisoners
work towards a goal of a ‘crime-free life’. The service will be delivered by a non-
government organisation, and it will allow prisoners to be linked with help that will
aid them in staying out of prison. It should be noted that much of the following
appears to be aspirational in nature; the delivery of effective resources is yet to be
seen.


In terms of post-release (re-entering the community), as part of the service, prisoners
will be referred to relevant services in their local area. Once a prisoner has left prison,
the service will continue to assist prisoners in the community according to their
individual needs.

(Refer to Appendix10: for a brochure on the Offender Reintegration Support Service)




                    A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 23 of 30
       OBSERVATIONS OF INJUSTICES ENCOUNTERED BY
                 MARGINALISED CITIZENS



As mentioned above, the criminal justice system is designed to protect members of
the community and their property. It is also designed to deal appropriately with
people who do not obey the law. At first glance, Queensland’s criminal justice
system appears to be fair and just to all, as it aims to deal ‘appropriately’ with those
who do not obey the law. However, beneath the surface for those that are going
through the system, there appears to be injustices, particularly for marginalized
citizens, those without power, contacts, or knowledge.


In conducting this project the following observations were made in terms of the
injustices that are encountered by marginalized citizens:


      In terms of education and training in prisons, QCS states that basic adult
       education is a priority, and that it will be available at all prisons, with the
       exception being Helena Jones (Mulligan, 2007). However, it is known that in
       certain circumstances prisoners may not gain access to basic adult education.
       For any prisoners on remand, or sentenced to 12 months or less, education is
       not a priority. As mentioned above an education assessment will only occur if
       it’s considered ‘beneficial’ and if there are sufficient resources available. This
       appears to be an injustice in the system, simply because those that are on
       remand or those that are serving under a 12 month sentence have no access or
       very little access to basic education and training. Basic education and training
       gives prisoners the opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge and thus
       improve their chances of rehabilitation; of re-entering society and doing so
       productively and without having to resort to crime. As a result of this, certain
       prisoners may benefit in terms of seeking employment, etc. Therefore, it is
       believed to be unjust that certain prisoners (those who are sentenced to 12
       months or less, which are the majority of prisoners) are not provided with
       basic education.




                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 24 of 30
   In terms of prisoner’s legal support, there appears to be limitations in the
    availability to provide prisoners with legal advice. For example, Prisoners’
    Legal Service (PLS) receives approximately 6000 calls a month from
    prisoners. However, out of those 6000 calls, they are only able to take 400.
    Matilda Alexander who is the coordinator of PLS (2007) maintains that
    Corrective Services cuts all calls off after 7-15minutes (depending what prison
    they are calling from). This means that PLS has to get all the prisoners details
    about their legal problem, and provide them with legal advice within this
    limited time frame.


   The latest statistics from the Queensland Criminal Justice Bulletin maintain
    that 795 prisoners (out of the 8000 that are released from Queensland’s prisons
    each year) are released on parole. This means that approximately 7205
    prisoners complete their full time sentence and are released into the
    community with no support. Some prisoners even go straight from solitary
    confinement (where they are isolated and denied contact with people and other
    prisoners) to the community. Until the recent Offender Reintegration Support
    Service (delivery yet to be seen), there has been no organisation responsible
    for reintegrating prisoners to the community. This raises numerous issues, as
    prison is considered an artificial environment, which neglects to address the
    root causes of why people are in prison and the resulting effects of
    institutionalisation. It is shocking that there is a lack of support for prisoners
    who have completed their full time sentence, especially for those that have
    come straight out of solitary confinement.


   Matilda Alexander (2007) maintains that Indigenous people are more likely to
    plead guilty to an offence that they may or may not have committed, simply
    because they are unable to receive legal aid if they plead not guilty.


   Some individuals go through the court system quicker than others. For
    example, there is a big delay if an individual pleads guilty. Also the Mental
    Health Court does not sit regularly, and a case is often delayed for a year or
    more.



                A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 25 of 30
      It was observed that many Indigenous young people want to go to prison, for
       numerous reasons, including that their mates are there, they get food, clothes
       and, it has become a rite of passage. It is disturbing that individuals see prison
       as a better environment than the one they currently live in. This is another
       example of the fact that the criminal justice system does not address the root
       causes of why people offend in the first place.


      It is evident that being a marginalized citizen, even by having little literacy
       skills, affects many aspects of the criminal justice system, particularly parole
       applications. It would be very hard to get parole if an individual could not
       write a parole application. Commonly, prisoners get other prisoners to write
       their parole application for them. This has many limitations, as they may not
       know how to best represent the prisoner in the parole application form.


The above instances are just a few examples of some of the observed injustices that
marginalized citizens encounter throughout Queensland’s criminal justice system.
From these examples, it is evident that many injustices revolve around or within the
prison system. This highlights only a few of the numerous problems encountered by
people in the current system. Consequently, it can be strongly argued that it is not a
fair and just system and that further understandings of how the system can negatively
impact on marginalised people is required.



(Refer to Appendix 11: for further information that was gained from interviews with
key stakeholders)




                   A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 26 of 30
REFERENCES

   Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2004. 1387.3- Queensland in Review, 2003.
   http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/6F28FEB5B488832CCA256CC5
   00211FD4?opendocument (accessed November 06, 2007).

   AussieLegal. 2007. Trial Procedure.
   http://www.aussielegal.com.au/informationoutline~topicid~32~subtopicid~24
   943~subtopicdetailsid~824.htm (accessed October 09, 2007).

   Australasian Police. 2005. A Guide to the Role of Police in Australia.
   www.apmab.gov.au/pubs/PoliceGuide.pdf (accessed November 04, 2007).

   Bartol, C. R. and A.M. Bartol. 1994. Psychology and Law; Research and
   Application, Brooks/ Cole, California. Chapter Thirteen: the psychology of
   corrections, pp345-374.

   Department of Corrective Services. 2005. Entering Prison: A guide for
   prisoners in Queensland’s correctional centres.
   http://www.correctiveservices.qld.gov.au/Publications/Corporate_Publications
   /Foreign_Brochures/CORRECTIVE-English.pdf (accessed August 28, 2007).

   Department of Justice and Attorney-General. 2007. About the Courts.
   http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/courts/about/types.htm#2 (accessed November
   06, 2007).

   Loke, K. and I.J. Johnston. 2007. Juvenile Justice in Australia: Juvenile
   Justice series no.2.
   http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10363 (accessed August
   28, 2007).

   Mulligan, K. 2007. Justice Behind Bars. Queensland: Prisoners’ Legal Service
   Publishing.

   Queensland Corrective Services. 2005. Custodial Operations.
   http://www.dcs.qld.gov.au/About_Us/Booklets/Custodial%20Operations%20P
   RINT.pdf (accessed November 07, 2007).

   Queensland Corrective Services. 2006. What happens in prison?
   http://www.dcs.qld.gov.au/Resources/Friends/inPprison.shtml (accessed
   September 04, 2007).

   Queensland Corrective Services. 2007(a). Probation and Parole.
   http://www.correctiveservices.qld.gov.au/About_Us/The_Department/Probatio
   n_and_Parole/index.shtml (accessed October 30, 2007)

   Queensland Corrective Services. 2007(b). Queensland Corrective Services: An
   Overview.
   http://www.correctiveservices.qld.gov.au/About_Us/Booklets/QCS%20PRIN
   T.pdf (accessed October 30, 2007).


              A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 27 of 30
Queensland Courts. 2004. About the Courts: Court Processes.
http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/about/process.htm (accessed August 07, 2007).

Queensland Courts. 2002. Our Courts…an inside look.
http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/about/Our%20Courts%20-
%20an%20inside%20look.pdf (accessed August 07, 2007).

Queensland Government. 2002. About the courts: Civil or Criminal?
http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/education/courts/civilor.htm#3 (accessed
August 07, 2007).

Queensland Government. 2005. Entering Prison: A guide for prisoners in
Queensland’s correctional centres.
http://www.dcs.qld.gov.au/Publications/Corporate_Publications
/Foreign_Brochures/CORRECTIVE_English.pdf (accessed September 04,
2007).

Queensland Government. 2006. Queensland’s Courts Systems: The Court
Processes. http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/odpp/C15courtProcess.htm (accessed
August 14, 2007).




           A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 28 of 30
                                    APPENDICIES

Appendix 1: Definitions of criminal offences
       Source: Queensland Government. 2002. About the courts: Civil or Criminal?
       http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/education/courts/civilor.htm#3 (accessed
       August 07, 2007).

Appendix 2: Juvenile Justice Process in Australia
     Source: Loke, K. and I.J. Johnston. 2007. Juvenile Justice in Australia:
     Juvenile Justice series no.2.
     http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10363 (accessed August
     28, 2007).

Appendix 3: Comprehensive court process for criminal cases
     Source: Queensland Courts. 2002. Our Courts…an inside look.
     http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/about/Our%20Courts%20_%20an%20inside%2
     0look.pdf (accessed August 07, 2007).

Appendix 4: Detailed sentencing options
     Source: AussieLegal. 2007. Trial Procedure.
     http://www.aussielegal.com.au/informationoutline~topicid~32~subtopicid~24
     943~subtopicdetailsid~824.htm (accessed October 09, 2007).

Appendix 5: Visual representation of Queensland’s Court Hierarchy
     Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2004. 1387.3- Queensland in Review,
     2003.
     http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/6F28FEB5B488832CCA256CC5
     00211FD4?opendocument (accessed November 06, 2007).


Appendix 6: Goals of Prison Confinement
     Source: Bartol, C. R. and A.M. Bartol. 1994. Psychology and Law; Research
     and Application, Brooks/ Cole, California. Chapter Thirteen: the psychology
     of corrections, pp345-374.

Appendix 7: Information about entering a prison
     Source: Queensland Corrective Services. 2006. What happens in prison?
     http://www.dcs.qld.gov.au/Resources/Friends/inPprison.shtml (accessed
     September 04, 2007).

       Queensland Government. 2005. Entering Prison: A guide for prisoners in
       Queensland’s correctional centres.
       http://www.dcs.qld.gov.au/Publications/Corporate_Publications
       /Foreign_Brochures/CORRECTIVE_English.pdf (accessed September 04,
       2007).

Appendix 8: Brochure on available offender programs
     Source: Throughcare and External Services



                 A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 29 of 30
Appendix 9: Probation and Parole
     Source: Queensland Corrective Services. 2007(a). Probation and Parole.
     http://www.correctiveservices.qld.gov.au/About_Us/The_Department/Probatio
     n_and_Parole/index.shtml (accessed October 30, 2007)

      Parole eligibility provided by Throughcare and External Services.

Appendix 10: Offender Reintegration Support Service Brochure
     Source: Throughcare and External Services

Appendix 11: Notes from Interviews




                 A Guide to the Queensland Criminal Justice System   Page 30 of 30

								
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