Human Rights, Human Services, and the Law

Introduction to Intellectual Disability in The Victorian Prison System

We live in a society or community which needs to have a level of structure to work that is applicable to and understandable by each and everyone. It is the Laws that create the structure to regulate the way according to which the people and organizations or the governments of different nations act. A law is said to be a rule which is created by a legal authority and is applicable to everyone. These rules are made in order to make sure that people act according to their obligations which are expected from them as being a member of society and to be aware of what they can expect of other people and the government about their rights.

Purpose/Objective of This Report

Thus, law makes society, its people or organizations to work effectively and efficiently. It makes sure that these things are not using illegal power or money or influencing to gain an advantage from others for making things better for themselves. The Legal System is a known to describe the laws which are made, the process used in making those laws, and the actions in order to make sure that the laws are effectively followed. The legal system reflects how the people behave or act towards each other. The Judicial System is established by the rules of law in order to protect the human rights.

This thesis report is prepared in order to get a conclusion over the facts and figures of the working of the judicial system while considering over its achievements and the factors that degrade its working efficiency. This report gives out the knowledge about the conditions and circumstances that lead to the ineffectiveness in the working of the judicial system.

Issue Part 1: The achievement of justice in the Local Court is affected by factors including the high volume of cases and the pressure to plead guilty. The focus on efficiency means that justice is often compromised. What are the reasons for this?

Conclusion Part 1:

The reasons affecting the ineffectiveness of such judicial system are:

  1. Ultimatum of Punishment: The judicial system is prejudiced through its focus in the systems and such processes that are done on crimes that are exceptional in nature. The judicial system concedes the ultimatum of punishment and makes the use of the due process, with the disruptive system. People who are charged for the offences have such rights, but the main aim of the system is of the elimination of serious crime. Serious heinous or organized crime will never be fully removed. And the bulk in which the criminal justice system work will be piled up with high generality and undistinguished crime committed by the poor and powerless. The State has been progressively transferring matters related to minor from the criminal courts to the infringements system. It imposes several types of penalties by not even taking a person’s condition into consideration. The ideology and effect of such policies, that have followed this legislation, have been very punitive in nature. Hence, the prison has been categorized and used as a basic strategy of criminal justice.
  2. Discrepancy in the Procedures: The Australian criminal justice systems are not perfect in every way. They tend to lack the efficiency and effectiveness in controlling and managing the cases. There have been circumstances where witnesses, juries and even judges made mistakes. Thus, the courts of appeal have been established which review evidence, judicial statements of the law and outcomes and that intervene in the case if it appears that a mistake has been made.
  3. Effect of changes over the years: There have been changes that are made in the judicial system where in which the cases had been piled up, causing the situation of high volume of pending cases in the courts. This situation leads to the fact about the working mechanism of the system in an ineffective way. Those unattended cases and files tend to increase with a rapid growth. The courts lack the power to attend and acknowledge those cases on time because of pending cases. And thus the pressure relies on the fact that people are forced to plead guilty. This just brings out the ineffectiveness in the working mechanism of the judicial system and failing to achieve its objective of fair and equitable justice for everyone.

As been researched, much of the law and order has been focused on sentencing the offenders. The justice system has the most accessible kind of punishment when a person is pleading guilty is to charge him with the sentence. Researchers have explored various effects of imprisonment on the people even beyond the walls of prisons. There are consequences that have been highlighted in all these times includes unintended social disorganization of the communities or decrease in the number of the job opportunities for the ex-prisoners or circumstances leading to deflection of funds from schools and universities or various financial burdens on their families. (Cunningham, A. 2001)

The justice system currently employs a poorly-structured approach for much of this work. I do not say that the justice system can eliminate poverty, but it has an explicit attribute which other structures, such as the education and health systems, do not have. It can enforce. Defendants can be redirected to education and health activities run by counselors, educationalists and even police as part of their sentencing and rehabilitation. Such measures collaboratively confront the cycle of poverty and crime.

Even though, the judicial system brings out the fact of providing a safer environment to society, it lacks various aspects affecting the life of a person who is living in those prisons, and of those people who are connected with the prisoner and the offender. In many ways, it is said to be the effective way in defeating and degrading the number of offences and crimes by sentencing the offenders in the prison according to their term period as per decided by the law. This concerns and affects the living, emotional, mental or physical condition of that person for the rest of their life. People tend to have a criminogenic effect after they complete their sentence. A criminogenic effect is said to be occurred to the prisoners due to the situation of antisocial prison experiences.

The personal autonomy of the people is nugatory and their day to day routines are being highly regimented which includes that they are locked for long periods in small shared cells. These prisons are tends to be overcrowded.. This has been researched that the increase in growth of the imprisonment does not increase with the crime rates. The most recent Victoria Police crime statistics show that the 2013/2014 crime rate was 1.6% lower than 10 years ago. The type of offences due to which the prisoners are punished or remanded or even sentenced affects the size of the prison and its population. (Anna & Carlos, 2020)

There are other policies and practices which have been changed that have been a reason for increase in the imprisonment factors. Some of these changes are:

  1. Sentencing – the imprisonment terms have been increased in various matters.
  2. Parole – bringing a parole change have resulted in rejecting many parole applications and thus longer period terms are implemented for prison system. And also, emerging evidence has increased stringent parole conditions and even severe punishments have been increased for breach of parole which also resulted in serving the full sentence of the punishments. (Ivanc S, 2019)
  3. Bail – the amendments in Bail Amendment Act 2013 resulted in bringing appropriate changes involving oversight of persons charged and introducing offences for infringing bail rules and conditions. Thus implementing further charges and long term sentences with rejecting the bail applications.(Mckay S, 2020).

Issue Part 2: The effect on the community who suffer disadvantages. Why do these factors affect this group in particular?

Conclusion Part 2:

The community that suffers the most are the group of indigenous people. An amount of effect of incapacity is exerted on indigenous persons during inquiries, investigations, or trials. The findings from various studies shows that law policies costs greater than the benefits, and as per the imprisonment growth rate increases, the benefits tends to alter the crime rate as it increases because of the this effect of judicial system. There have been studies regarding the risks of the disease and viruses of infections like IDU (injecting drug use) that is affecting the people among many prisoners in the central Victorian Prison. (Crofts,, 1996).

 The personal possessions, social services, education, welfare are limited and their involvement in occupation is restricted. They are deprived of the liberty and are punished with inhumane conditions (Naylor B, 2015) The paper reports by an Australian Research Council (ARC) which organized a project with for implementation the human rights in closed environments like prisons. This ARC project aimed at examining on how the human rights values are being applied in day to day activities in prisons or police cells or immigration detention or forensic and disability facilities and to evaluate the actual influence of those legislation based on human rights in these premises. Every person does not get necessarily gets the same conditions while living going through these circumstances. The Signs of mental disorder were also examined in the prisoners including depressive mental disorders, or some anxiety problems, increase in drug-related disorders.

In Australia, there were 11000 people who were Indigenous got imprisoned and more than 3200 of them were not convicted at that time. The criminal justice system does not criminalize, but results in social marginalization of the people (Williams S, 2017). Indigenous people often rank highest or prison inmates, illiteracy and unemployment. It has been recorded and analyzed that the inmates who get released from the prison tends to suffer with health issues, dependent and impoverished, because they lack their skill and are institutionalized. Many of those people die soon after their release because of strain and loss of capabilities. Victoria’s prisons are reviewed as severe risk institutions where the sanitary and safety conditions are avoided while treating prisoners (Sands V, 2004).

Judicial system has been identified as a type of public control which is not being attaining its main goal. Despite the decreasing of such crime rates, circumstances have resulted in an increase in the population of prison. It was recorded that on 30 June 2014, recidivism worsened with 45.8% of released NSW prisoners returning to prison within two years.

And it resulted in making the Australian prisons overcrowded, involving several negative consequences or circumstances for prisoners, their families and the community of indigenous people. Such situations of a indigenous person usually results into emotionally devastating and practically debilitating loss and hopelessness for the partners.

A loss of outside relationship, income, isolation, deterioration in relationships, with burden of taking care of child are some of the most ruinous features. The prevalence of intellectual disability among the prison population in the State of Victoria, Australia is implementing and their intellectual disability differs from non-intellectually disabled prisoners on factors relevant to their management and rehabilitation in prison. (Persson & Holland, 2010)

Reference List for Intellectual Disability in The Victorian Prison System

Mack, K. & Roach Anleu, S. 2007. Getting through the list: Judge craft and legitimacy in the lower courts’ Social and Legal Studies, (16) pp. 341-61

McBarnet, D. 1981. Conviction: Law, the state and the construction of justice London, Macmillan (on reserve)

Tait, D. 2003. ‘The Ritual Environment of the Mental Health Tribunal Hearing: Inquires and reflections’, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (10), pp. 91-96

Hall, M. 2010. 'Key themes in New South Wales criminal justice', Current Issues in Criminal Justice 22(1), pp. 19-43.

Ivanc, Stefan (a Pseudonym) v TheQueen [2019] VSCA 219

Mckay, Shane [2020] VSC 558

Williams, S.M. 2017. Criminal Law: Indigenous Peoples and the Law. What is our problem with imprisonment?. Available at:

Ritchie, D. 2012. Sentencing Matters. How Much Does Imprisonment Protect the Community Through Incapacitation?, pp. 2 – 5

Anna, G. and Carlos, C. 2020. Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice. Imprisonment in Australia: The offence composition of Australian Correctional Population.

Sands, V.J. 2004. Australian Journal of Public Administration. Regulatory independence, public accountability and Victorian prison system 63(4), pp. 50-58

Persson, P. and Holland, S. 2010. Psychology, Crime & Law. Intellectual disability in the Victorian prison system: characteristics of prisoners with an intellectual disability released from prison in 2003–2006. pp. 25-41

Cunningham, A. 2001. Forgotten Families: the impacts of imprisonment. A Study of the needs of children and families of Prisoners in Victoria (59), pp. 35-38

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