Prisoners are people!
Every prisoner has a story. As families are torn apart through violence and abandonment, society decays and crime increases. Every prisoner is someone’s Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Husband, Wife… people who are separated from their families (or never had a family!). They are people, punished in accordance with the law, through a system of retributive justice, and are generally ignored and forgotten by our wider society. Prisoners are often isolated, afraid, angry and hurting. Moreover, according to ABS statistics, prisoners (in Queensland) are likely to be
- Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander (approx 30%)
- in prison before (approximately 60%)
- presenting with some diagnosable form of mental health issue (nearly 50%)
- have the highest representation in the age group 24-29 y.o
- have a form of drug or alcohol dependency (nearly 90%).
Prisoners often lose self esteem, value and all sense of worth upon imprisonment. They also lose decision making power and quite often feel as if they are “just a number in a system”. The question we, as a society, need to ask is – what sort of person would we want a prisoner to be when they re-enter into society – and in what framework will any possible change occur?