Minister Elferink should be congratulated for having a go at …

Comment on Sentenced to a job and a future – Elferink’s visionary initiative by Bob Durnan.

Minister Elferink should be congratulated for having a go at pushing this envelope, but I fear his good intentions may be doomed.
Previous NT Corrections ministers have proposed similar initiatives, but come up against legal and industrial relations impediments, public prejudice, political risks considered by their cabinets and parties to be too large to bear, as well as stiff resistance from other vested interests (not least from the prison guards, some of whose arguments are better than others).

Bob Durnan Also Commented

Sentenced to a job and a future – Elferink’s visionary initiative
Liz Martin (Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm) raises some important considerations in relation to community work orders.
One question: could Elferink’s proposal also encompass ways to enable release of short-term non-violent prisoners, as well as the longer term inmates, to attend intensive courses in “real world” literacy, numeracy, life skills and other areas of individual education needs as identified by Liz?
At present short term prisoners are not permitted to engage in the limited courses that are offered within the prisons. As short term, non-violent prisoners comprise the vast majority of the prison population, this rule constitutes an enormous lost opportunity for constructive educational and other interventions.
Those damned “social workers” have long been advocating for short-term prisoners to be allowed to take part in education and life skills courses within the prison, but the prison managers and staff have resisted this on various grounds.
Although many prisoners (like many unemployed non-prisoners) may have completed a lot of “training courses”, they often remain under-educated in some of the basic knowledge and formal attainments that are fundamental to undertaking successful apprenticeships or much other “real world” training; these education shortfalls often include some of the most crucial skills needed for holding down jobs.
In recent years some highly qualified assessors of skills such as literacy, numeracy, computer use and spoken English comprehension and use have become available to community organisations in Central Australia, and amassed a body of useful data.
Trainees and job-seekers tested by these very experienced, professionally qualified practitioners have been consistently found to have only low to mid-primary school level skills in a number of key areas. Those assessed include people who have previously taken part in the many and much ballyhooed “training courses” provided by or through a number of well-reimbursed but often under-achieving private sector job services and job skills providers.
A lot can be achieved in a brief time by highly skilled intensive teaching of literacy, numeracy, oracy and technacy skills to motivated adults if they are able to study in supportive circumstances. If short-term prisoners could be hooked into starting to improve their education via attending external courses while they are “inside”, in many cases this could be continued on their exit from prison, and provide an extra incentive for them to try to keep out of trouble.

Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Gallery business case slap in the face of custodians
Wrong again Matthew Langan (Posted August 26, 2019 at 6:44 pm).
It was actually “big knob socialist flogs” from the CLP who talked up and used government funds to build the Desert Park, the Araluen Arts Centre and the Strehlow Museum.
If you have complaints about those places and their costs to the public purse, go talk to the conservatives. Nothing to do with the Labor mob.
The CLP under both Adam Giles and Gary Higgins has indicated it would also support a new National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs.

Architect of Katherine’s masterplan to be Alice council CEO
James (Posted June 6, 2019 at 8:14 am): How many parks in Alice Springs commemorate Aboriginal leaders or dignitaries?
Nothing against Father Smith, but couldn’t we consider looking collectively at setting some priorities before rushing in to barrack for our favourite project?

Price family were sole complainants against Cocking & Satour 
Conservative (posted May 1, 2019 at 9:19 am): what do you mean by ‘props to Erwin’? Stage ‘props’? It doesn’t make sense.

Road toll drops by half
Like InterestedDarwinObserver, I think Assistant Commissioner Beer’s claim is a somewhat questionable one.
Given that the majority of NT road deaths are normally the result of single vehicle roll-overs on remote roads, it is questionable whether more intensive traffic policing in Alice would necessarily produce this good result as claimed.
We would need a much bigger sample and more details of the individual accidents to really get an idea about what is actually going on here.

Massive horse deaths now a risk to humans
Hal, (Posted April 14, 2019 at 1:29 am): Don’t be so disingenuous. It is obvious from the article that CLC staff have been trying very hard to get permission to act.
They have now made their frustrations known to the relevant authorities, who are able to step in.
My point is that your criticism should have been aimed at those responsible (the traditional owners in question), not at the CLC as an organisation, as the staff are trying to do their job and get something done about the situation.
I was at both Mulga Bore and Angula a little over a week ago, and found very few people at Mulga, and none at Angula.
There were no dead horses that I saw, or smell of dead horses, around the houses then at either place, but there may have been some elsewhere. Of course the carcasses should be disposed of, wherever they are; that is what the writer and the CLC are trying to achieve.

Be Sociable, Share!

A new way to support our journalism

We do not have a paywall. If you support our independent journalism you can make a financial contribution by clicking the red button below. This will help us cover expenses and sustain the news service we’ve been providing since 1994, in a locally owned and operated medium.

Erwin Chlanda, Editor