I note that former Corrections minister John Elferink invited Judge …

Comment on Helping offenders on probation and parole stay out of gaol by Alex Nelson.

I note that former Corrections minister John Elferink invited Judge Steven Alm from Hawaii to address the NT magistrates’ conference about the HOPE program in Darwin on August 17, 2015. Elferink had previously visited Judge Alm’s courtroom in Hawaii to witness this scheme in action.
Judge Alm was reported (NT News, August 17, 2015) at that conference pointing out that HOPE led to a “dramatic reduction in probation prisoners using drugs, missing appointments with their supervisors, and ending up back in prison”.
He further observed that “the program split the difference between soft on crime and hard on crime and pointed out a variation of the scheme was implemented in Alaska “which has similar problems of isolation, violent crime and substance abuse to the [Northern] Territory”.
One trusts the NT Government’s new parole program will help to reduce the unacceptably high levels of incarceration in our part of the world.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Anzac Oval: hand it over, says NT Government
@ Hal Duell (Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:08 pm):My personal opinion is that I think you’re on the money with your suggestion about the NT Government’s motives, Hal.


Rain: Yesss!
@ Charlie Carter (Posted October 12, 2018 at 7:44 am): You’re correct, Charlie, except the Indian Ocean dipole is positive and the major driver of the current drought conditions across much of Australia.
So now we’re about to cop it from both directions – a “perfect storm,” oddly enough.


Govt spokesman hits out at Opposition over floor price
There’s a strong element of history repeating here, or at least there’s a major risk of it happening again.
A previous scheme to deal with the rampant abuse of alcohol was attempted by the NT Government, under then CLP Chief Minister (and Member for Fannie Bay) Marshall Perron, with the introduction in 1991 of the 10-year Living With Alcohol program.
The scheme was financed with an excise on the price of full-strength beers, wines and spirits.
It was at this time that light and mid-strength beers were widely introduced for sale as a measure to reduce overall alcohol consumption levels in the NT. In 1992 the Alcohol Policy Unit of the Department of Chief Minister found that average weekly consumption of alcohol in the NT was “about 50% greater than the national average and at least 40% higher than any other state or territory” (Alcohol Fact Sheet, NTG, May 19, 1993).
The Living With Alcohol program was generally regarded as having a positive impact; although in the mid 1990s there was (yet again) a crisis in Alice Springs over alcohol abuse and attendant crime and anti-social behaviour.
This was the time when the Peoples Alcohol Action Coalition (later Group) was established by concerned local residents in response to this crisis.
The Living With Alcohol program fell victim to a High Court case decided in August 1997 (Ha v New South Wales), when – in a narrow result – the High Court ruled that such excises are a tax on sale, production and manufacture of goods prior to consumption, contrary to Section 90 of the Australian Constitution.
This prompted the Howard Government to introduce the GST to compensate for the loss of revenue to the states and territories resulting from the High Court’s decision.
Now here we go again? God help us!


Rain: Yesss!
Meanwhile the Bureau of Meteorology this afternoon raised the chance of an El Nino this summer from “watch” to “alert,” with a 70% likelihood of it now occurring.
The rain that some of us received today was delightful but came from an isolated storm. We are in classic drought territory.


Boundless downturn: retail and tourism figures decline
I contend the NT makes a good economic barometer for the country as a whole.
The NT’s economy is often compared with the resources-dominant economies of WA and Queensland but I think that’s misleading.
We’re far more dependent on Commonwealth support.
However, the NT is politically insignificant on a national stage so when times start to get difficult, the welfare of the NT is not uppermost in most Federal politicians’ minds, especially when the respective governments (and Territory Federal representation) are of opposing political persuasions as happens to be the case right now. The signals are not good.
In addition, there are some other indicators of concern. Fuel prices are rising significantly with apparently no relief in the near future.
The drought is worsening and a new El Nino is imminent so food security may become an issue next year (markedly similar to the early 1980s coincident with the recession of that time).
This could lead to inflationary pressure which might delight the Reserve Bank of Australia but not be of much mirth to many others at a time of flat-lining wages growth, high levels of personal indebtedness and rising bank interest rates.


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