11 November 2015 - Shadow Minister for Corrections, Natasha Fyles, called on the CLP’s John Elferink to publicly detail how many more high risk prisoners are in low security prison or allowed to venture into communities as part of the ‘sentenced to a job’ scheme, and how many of those already in the program had their classifications downgraded to allow them to take part.
“We have heard accounts of prisoners having their security rating downgraded in order for them to be eligible to take part in this scheme and that’s simply not good enough,” said Natasha Fyles.
“We have also heard that the Department of Corrections has been ordered to recall a number of prisoners away from the ‘sentenced to a job’ scheme as they do not meet the requirements that allow them to take part in the program.
The Minister for Corrections, John Elferink must answer:
“The events in Nhulunbuy highlight that a very serious criminal was allowed to take part in a scheme with minimal supervision, while being housed in a low security setting.
“Territorians deserve to know that they are being kept safe.
“Territory Labor supports ensuring that prisoners take part in programs designed to give them skills and reduce recidivism rates, but never at the expense of community safety and never by downgrading a criminals’ assessed rating.”
Media contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
10 November 2015 - The NT prison system has plunged into crisis again with the escape of a convicted rapist and murderer who is the 36th escapee from a Territory correctional facility in the past 18 months.
The CLP Government and the Corrections Minister in particular are utterly incapable of keeping Territorians safe said NT Shadow Corrections Minister Natasha Fyles.
“When will John Elferink take responsibility for debacles happening in his own department under his watch?” asked Natasha Fyles.
“The CLP government that has completely lost control because they’re too busy fighting amongst themselves to actually get on with the job.
“The CLP’s John Elferink has some very serious questions to answer, including how it came to be that a convicted axe murder and rapist was eligible for the ‘sentenced to a job’ scheme.”
According to the Department of Corrections’ own website:
The Datjala Work Camp is located in the former Nhulunbuy Health Department Centre facility on the outskirts of the Nhulunbuy township.
The facility can accommodate up to 50 sentenced and remand, low and open-security male prisoners.
No sex offenders or prisoners of public interest are considered for placement.
Eligible prisoners must hold the appropriate security classification and must be deemed medically fit and complete all necessary programs.
All prisoners are required to follow a strict regime which includes giving back to the community through undertaking community enhancements, maintenance and beautification projects.
The work camp will be used to educate and rehabilitate prisoners through meaningful training, education, employment and support programs.
“Territorians demand better from this CLP government that has utterly dropped the ball on our justice system and correctional services. The CLP Government is in complete paralysis.
“All the evidence to date points to the very real fact that this CLP Government is too busy fighting amongst themselves to worry about keeping Territorians safe.”
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
6 November 2015 - Shadow Minister for corrections, Natasha Fyles said crime statistics show that the CLP can’t be trusted to reduce property crime in Palmerston and they have broken their election promise to reduce crime by 10 per cent per year.
During the 2012 Territory Election, the CLP Promised to reduce crime by 10 per cent per year:
“We will reduce crime by 10% per year.” – CLP Election Pledge during 2012 Territory Election.
“Property crime in Palmerston has increased by 41 per cent since the CLP Government took office, which means the CLP Government has broken its election promise by a staggering 71 per cent,” said Natasha Fyles.
“The Government’s own crime statistics show that not only has the Giles CLP Government failed to achieve their target, but property crime in Palmerston is now higher than it was when they took Government in 2012.”
5 November 2015 - Shadow Minister for corrections, Natasha Fyles said crime statistics show that the CLP can’t be trusted to reduce crime against the person in Darwin and they have broken their election promise to reduce crime by 10 per cent per year.
“The Government’s own crime statistics show that not only has the Giles CLP Government failed to achieve their target, but crime against the person in Darwin is now higher than it was when they took Government in 2012,” said Natasha Fyles.
“The CLP have failed on their commitment to reduce crimes against the person in Darwin by 56% - which means crimes against the person in Darwin have actually increased by 26% since they took office.”
Shadow Minister for Corrections Michael Gunner today said that the CLP’s youth justice crisis is completely of their own making.
“Like so many of CLP’s problems their youth justice crisis in entirely self-inflicted,” Mr Gunner said.
“The CLP have completely ignored the recommendations of the report undertaken by their own former leader Jodeen Carney who they have appointed head of Child Protection.
“They have ignored Jodeen Carney's report, the system has collapsed, so they have ordered another report.”
Mr Gunner said he was very interested in seeing who the independent expert is who will provide better advice to the CLP on youth justice than Ms Carney.
“The CLP’s crisis is so severe that they are now using a facility for youth detention that their own head of corrections described ‘was so run down it should be bulldozed’,” Mr Gunner said.
“The CLP ignored all the advice on how to keep young people out of detention so they now can’t even keep them all in.
“The CLP’s youth justice crisis is just one of many debacles overseen by John Elferink.”
“As Attorney General he has overseen more violent crime than ever before – assaults in the Northern Territory are higher than when the CLP were elected in 2012.
“As Minister for Child Protection he has overseen a 30 per cent increase in child abuse reports but has cut the budget and the number of investigations that are completed.
“And his corrections failures are now so severe he has had to commission a report into his own failures.
“It is little wonder that he is spending taxpayer dollars to improve his post politics resume by attending a legal professional development course.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth
Shadow Minister for Corrections, Michael Gunner, today called for the Government to immediately establish an Inquiry by the Children’s Commissioner into the riot at the Don Dale juvenile corrections facility.
“It’s clear that the Children’s Commissioner Dr Howard Bath has concerns about what took place and it’s appropriate that as an expert third party he take a look at the procedures and the incident,” Mr Gunner said.
“Too many incidents; escapes, riots and children slipping out for the night are happening on John Elferink’s watch.
“The public, prison officers and the detainees all need to have confidence in the juvenile detention system.
“It’s a shocking situation when six teenagers effectively hold a three hour siege in our correction facility and the only solution is for them to be tear gassed.
“Tear gas is a powerful and painful chemical and we need to know what led up to it being used.
“No one wants to see it being used on our children, even those in detention.
“Dr Bath may be able to find solutions to assist our prison officers in such difficult circumstances and to make the situation safer for everyone.”
Media Contact: Michael Gleeson 0400 096 924