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How ‘tough on crime’ politics flouts death-in-custody recommendations

Chris Cunneen writes in The Conversation (14.4.16) about a supposed 'punitive culture' in Australia supporting some governments' readiness to incarcerate and impose 'tough' criminal sentences upon offenders. This comes in light of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of the report from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

'Whatever might be said about its successes and failures, it’s clear that 25 years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody tabled its final report, Australia has become much less compassionate, more punitive and more ready to blame individuals for their alleged failings.

'Nowhere is this more clear than in our desire for punishment. A harsh criminal justice system – in particular, more prisons and people behind bars – has apparently become a hallmark of good government.

'This wasn’t always the case. But it just so happened that the royal commission handed down its findings at a time when the politics of law and order was rapidly changing.'


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