Corrections Minister unaware of upward trend in female incarceration rates

It was revealed in the Legislative Assembly today that Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury did not anticipate a high level of growth in the number of women at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, despite compelling national and international data that proves otherwise, Shadow Minister for Corrections Giulia Jones said today.

“Minister Rattenbury’s statement on women in the AMC is yet more proof that he is either uninterested in his portfolio or totally incompetent,” Mrs Jones said.

“There is compelling evidence from both national and international sources that reveals the rate of female incarceration has been growing for years. I’ve raised this matter with the Minister on many occasions.”1 Mrs Jones said.

1 See for example: Women in Prison – Why is the Rate of Incarceration Increasing?, Gelb, Assistant Director, National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003); Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform (US), Swabola, Riley and Subramanian, Vera Institute of Justice (2016); Australia’s prison system overcrowded to bursting point with more than 33,000 people in jail, Rubinsztein-Dunlop, ABC News Online http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-02/austrlaian-prison-overcrowding-female-populations-growing/5567610; Prisoners in Australia, 2016, ABS http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4517.0~2016~Main%20Features~Sex~7; Female prisoners in Canberra jails nearly doubled in a year, Strachan, Canberra Times http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/female-prisoners-in-canberra-jails-nearly-doubled-in-a-year-20140919-10gh3e.html

Despite evidence, Minister Rattenbury claimed that the “increase in female detainee numbers is a development for which we were unable to plan”.

“When forecasting female detainee numbers in the AMC, did the Minister look at the national and international trends, and the rapidly growing population of Canberra? If he did, how could he have not predicted this growth in female detainees? If he didn’t, why not?” Mrs Jones said.

“This is yet more evidence that the Minister has fallen asleep at the wheel.

“I urge Minister Rattenbury to sort out the problems at the AMC and stop treating women like an afterthought,” Mrs Jones concluded.