Liz Martin (Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm) raises …

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

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.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

Sentenced to a job and a future – Elferink’s visionary initiative
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).


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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.


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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.


Massive horse deaths now a risk to humans
Hal: How would the Land Council stand legally if it were to destroy the property of a set of traditional owners without their permission? The CLC does not own the horses.
They are either the property of individual traditional owners and traditional owner family groups, or of persons who have contracts with the TOs to allow their horses to be on the TOs’ land.
Or else they are the responsibility of the particular Land Trust trustees on whose land they are located.
Legally the CLC as a statutory body can only consult and advise the traditional owners, and act on their instructions. It cannot make decisions for them without their permission.


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