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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 16, July 12, 1976.

Offender in Court

Offender in Court

The offender often lands in prison, usually after being represented by an uninterested legal aid lawyer, and a scanty if any, psychiatirc report, and the all-damaging probation report. The latter is caused by the Probation Officer incompetence and utter disregard to the truth, or to be able to interpret a situation clearly. This causes the offender to feel resentment and though telling the truth the P O twists to the way He Thinks it is, or was; therefore placing a bad misinterpretation before a judge or magistrate.

When prisoners are released they often have no employment no place to live and inadequate money from prison earnings. This is not rehabilitation and often leads to further crime being perpetuated.

For men serving sentences I put forward these suggestions: All persons serving 12 months or more be made by law to learn a trade of thier chosing (within reason).

All prisoners to be paid union rates, with board, tax taken off. If a prisoner commits an offence in prison, fine him. The money he earns to be banked for his release

Pre release and home leave to be made compulsory (except for murderers until having done 7 years).

Prisoners to have choice of treaining in civil defence, fire-brigade or St. John Ambulance. These three could hold courses at prisons and prisoners to be given field work experience. (Make them to feel wanted)

Special squads trained in rescue work, working with the police, instead of against them. The prison rescue squads would be at the scene of an accident or looking for lost bush-parties in half the time other rescue squads take - because the squad is congregated in one central place.

Get the prisoners interested in community interests by integrating them, aiding them, giving them sound advice and good community training. Society will then, arise from its own decadence.

With efforts like these criminals will begin to feel wanted and have gained a track and a interest in either civil defence, St Johns and the Fire Brigade.

The writer of this has been a civil defence warden and in 1972 applied to become a scout master knowing their was a shortage and having an interest in scouting. I was turned down because of criminal convictions, making me feel bitter. I only had the kids interest at heart, having 3 of my own, 8 years, 5 years and 3½ years old. I don't teach my children anything about crime - actually the exact opposite. So why should I teach young scouts about crime. I'd teach them the repercussions of any criminal act for I don't like seeing kids in trouble I thought I'd point this out just to show societies attitude to a criminal. This is why the criminal needs to be accepted in community projects and organisations.

R.J de Vere