I remind you, Erwin and the said Minister, that the …

Comment on Do you lose more than freedom when you are sent to gaol? by Phil Walcott.

I remind you, Erwin and the said Minister, that the “sentenced to a job” initiative was one of the FORMER NT Labor government.
I was working with pre then post custodial prisoners who were working on a weekday daily basis, paying “board lodgings” from their earnings and the levy from 30th July 2009.
This was more than three years PRIOR to the 2012 NT Legislative Election. Credit where credit is due!
Whilst the incumbent Minister is to be congratulated for his ongoing support and expansion of this program, it was NOT the CLP that introduced it.
If you need clarification, check with Delia Lawrie and Gerry McCarthy. To constantly report that this program is an initiative of the CLP is misleading and incorrect.

JOHN ELFERINK responds: What [Labor] had was a simple work release program that saw a hand full of prisoners engage in work release. Work release programs have been around for decades. The Labor Party on the basis of this have now been peddling the falsehood this this was all their idea in the first place.
The fact is if this was anything more than that they would have had the whole system up and running years ago. In short they didn’t. If they were onto it in 2009 then what did they do for three years?
The idea of making work the central component (not just a work program) of the corrections system is down to the new government. The world is watching what we’re doing and I’m proud of the enormous strides we have made in a single year.

Phil Walcott Also Commented

Do you lose more than freedom when you are sent to gaol?
The program, initiated in 2009, was entitled ‘Prisoner Employment Program’. That’s different to the work release program where ‘green shirts’ are on day release to perform community support jobs like grass cutting and assisting with erecting community group infrastructure (like Henley-On-Todd Regatta).
The program initiated the policy roll out of the prisoners contributing to their incarceration costs (food, housing etc.) Yes, the world is watching … so I’m glad the system is embracing these changes.

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