Monday, May 04, 2009

Prisoners wanted

The Sydney Morning Herald kindly printed one of my letters last week, calling it…

"Wanted: prisoners"

The threatened NSW "jail sale" has implicit dangers seemingly not yet aired ("Union leaders threaten to thwart Labor's prison privatisation plot", April 28). Just as the Government guaranteed private road tunnel operators a certain amount of traffic to guarantee their revenue, it is likely to promise private incarcerators a certain number of prisoners.

This would create a chilling conflict of interest, with the Government facing compensation payouts to jail operators if it reduced crime or liberalised laws.

The justice system should be driven by justice, not by fear of fiscal pain, and it should remain in public hands.

Michael Gormly Woolloomooloo


Anonymous said...

Hi Michael, not really a comment relevant to this article but I read an article in the SMH this morning where police complained about having to deploy larger numbers of officers in Kings Cross and Darlinghurst. I have seen this on Oxford St but definitely not in the Cross and am wondering if you have a take on it?

The Editor said...

The KX Super, Tony Crandell, says he puts more police on the beat on the street rather than driving around in cars, so they engage more with the oublic. That's a good thing in my view (as distinct from the sniffer-dog bully squads).

But local police have complained for years that they can't handle the 'mini NYE' that happens up here every weekend. That's largely because their shift rules make it difficult to roster more police on weekends at night, so we probably have too many on duty at 10am Mondays.

In the past they have tried to get the KX police station upgraded but the Government won't do it. So they tend to support measures to restrict the action.

However my view is that the social forces that create Kings Cross are bigger than Council or the exclusive privilege of residents, and attempts to squeeze it will just produce other unintended consequences, as per the 'balloon effect'.

Interesting that the Council only listens to the police when it suits them, though. Police supported the recent application by the Sugarmill for a smoking area on their roof as it would get smokers off the street and reduce crowding, noise and the risk of incidents. Council ignored them and rejected the app, basically on ideological grounds.

Anonymous said...

Crandell may say that but it only takes a look out the window between 9pm and 9am any night of the week (including weekends) to see there is only an occasional foot patrol (if any) and more often it is a drive by where the officers rarely even stop. More officers on the street? When? Where? Sounds good, but its simply not happening in Kings Cross.

Josie Howlett said...

I tend to agree with you re the foot patrols but my eyeballing of the Cross is at such disparate hours I couldn't make an objective judgement.

Still, a neighbour of mine was hauled out of her train at Central the other day and searched after a sniffer dog indicated her. They found a terribly incriminating bag of Chamomile tea in her handbag. She's humiliated and livid, and missed her train. What a misallocation of police resources.