Bob: It seems we all agree that minor crimes do …

Comment on LETTER: Taking no prisoners by Hal Duell.

Bob: It seems we all agree that minor crimes do not deserve prison sentences. I still wonder about recidivists, and especially chronic recidivists, but we can leave that for another day.
And thank you for your observations about education levels. It’s about what I imagined them to be. This reinforces my view that more education is needed. Hopefully the new Federal initiatives will help bring that about. Hopefully.
But here’s a question: If there is no home in Alice Springs, and the arrested person is in town because they are estranged from their own communities, then how is the our urban society supposed to deal with these law breakers? If prison is too draconian, and home or community detention not possible, and programs are all too often still in the planning or waiting funding, what happens today and tomorrow?

Hal Duell Also Commented

LETTER: Taking no prisoners
Crime in Alice Springs is associated with alcohol, almost every time, whether in acts of public disorder or major crimes like murder and arson. And yet whenever alcohol restrictions are mentioned, the ensuing debate would spin a wind turbine.
You are right, I do support restrictions. Nationally I would like to see a volumetric tax, and locally I would like to see three take-away free days. My nominations would be Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I’m not holding my breath for either development.
The lack of adequate funding for alternatives to prison extend across Australia. An article by Graeme Innes in today’s Fairfax papers points out that in 2007-2008, Australia spent over $2 billion on prisons. That statistic in now four years old,
but I have no doubt current figures will have kept up. The total equated then to $269 per prisoner per day. My guess is it would cost more today.
This is a lack of government imagination, a misuse of public money, a spinning of bureaucratic wheels. We’re wasting a chance.
I also think that anyone living in Alice Springs has a part to play. It doesn’t matter if you are a local Aranda, a Melbourne shusher, from the Pit homelands, an African refugee, a Warlpiri or a tradie on a tear. Alice Springs is an urban center. We all need to pull our socks up.


LETTER: Taking no prisoners
I know it’s more information than we usually get, but it might tell part of the story if we knew:
1 What is the crime?
2 Is he/she a recidivist?
3 Did (does) he/she go to school?
4 Where is he/she from?
5 Does he/she live in a house?
One year ago most of us in Alice were horrified to see what was happening on our streets, that is if we were out and about late at night or early in the AM. At that time I had an early morning job and going by KFC and over the Stott Tce bridge was scary enough in a motorcar. It was truly scary on a bicycle.
Now a police blitz is arresting crims (they are not being arrested for doing nothing), and our lockups are running out of room. This is not surprising, and while being locked up in crowded conditions is no fun, just maybe there’s a lesson there: Prison is not fun – think about it.
About my five questions:
1 After an initial wake-up jolt, minor crimes don’t deserve extended prison time.
2 Recidivists probably deserve to do some time.
3 I ask about schooling because I would like to know.
4/5 I ask about where from and houses to suggest the alternative to prison of home or community detention.


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Hazardous waste facility near Alice recommended
“It’s not me! I didn’t do it!” And yet I doubt if there is a household in Alice that doesn’t have at least one product the manufacture of which has contributed to the waste slated for storage.
It’s called denial. If only we did waste as well as we do denial.


Gallery: Friday is the day
Now that would have been an interesting question. Do the residents of Alice really want another art gallery? Or are we being sold a pup?


Bush community learning centre to close
“Batchelor Institute say that increased funding would be needed to run the Centre in 2018, they run similar programs in three Warlpiri communities where they are funded through royalties money.”
Sounds like a plan.


Cops with assault rifles footage six years old
I would like to thank CM Gunner for clarifying the issue of armed and masked TRG police being deployed on the streets of Alice over the coming summer. There won’t be any. Good!
The use of specialised equipment to assist operational officers is a good idea. The perpetrators of youth crime need to be identified.
But this begs the question of what will be done with these young criminals once identified? We can’t hold them in detention, we can’t hold the parents accountable, it seems we can’t do much of anything, really.
These plans are not very encouraging. I suppose they will keep the vigilantes off the streets, but will they keep the kids off them as well?
Perhaps these running-amok kids can be identified as coming from a specific community, and then the royalty payments going to their community can be sequestered until the damages done by them to the residents of Alice have been fully paid for?


Masked cops with assault rifles, but where are the parents?
So it’s come to this. A Tactical Response Group may be deployed to Alice to deal with youth crime. And we have no one but ourselves to blame.
Consider the alternatives.
The NT Police dare not intervene in youth crime for the simple reason that to so much as look sideways at a juvenile delinquent in action is accompanied with reams of paperwork and the high likelihood of a departmental inquiry and possible legal action.
The Town Council is not constituted to deal with policing matters. They can and do host meetings to try to reach a community consensus on what to do about children “getting ready for the summer crime spree,” but internal divisions and differing agendas make theirs a fractured voice.
And while the larger Indigenous organisations often voice their concerns, whatever they may be doing has clearly not worked in past years, and there is little to suggest that this summer will be any different.
And so now we may be seeing armed and (I assume) masked men (and women?) patrolling our streets, not to deal with organised criminals or national or international terrorists, but to deal with children. How inept are we?


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