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1.3 Sisters Inside – Queensland Submissions

Sisters Inside – Queensland Submissions

Sisters Inside (2019) Submission by letter to Queensland Parliamentary Education, Employment and Small Business Committee re: Working with Children Bills – Department’s Response, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (3 pages)

Elaborates on Sisters Inside’s opposition to “No Card No Start” provisions of the proposed legislative changes (detailed in our 2018 submission to the Committee).  Particularly raises concerns about locating a decision about what constitutes a “serious offence” with individual employers and the risk of systemic discrimination against First Nations people by an increased, narrowly-defined emphasis on compliance.

Sisters Inside (2018) Submission by letter to Queensland Parliamentary Education, Employment and Small Business Committee re: Working with Children Bills, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (3 pages)

Examines how the working with children check system individualises violence and fails to contextualise the criminalisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and associated systemic violence.  Advocates for guidelines which embed consideration of culture and empowerment of communities in decisions about the safety and wellbeing of their children.

Sisters Inside (2018) Submission by letter to Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council (QSAC) re Sentencing for criminal offences arising from the death of a child, Sisters Inside (4 pages)

Addresses key issues raised in their consultation paper including the purpose of sentencing, factors in sentencing (including aggravating and mitigating factors), the sentencing process, reflecting the particular vulnerabilities of children in sentencing, reforms required and the need for community awareness.

Sisters Inside (2018) Submission to Queensland Productivity Commission: Inquiry into Imprisonment & Recidivism, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (38 pages)

Includes detailed evidence – 81 footnotes, 56 references & 9 case studies.  Examines the key drivers of imprisonment – poverty, systemic racism, wider systemic failures, prison violence, imprisonment itself, multi-generational harm, remand/parole and service procurement processes.  Analyses the economic imperative for change and proposes alternatives to imprisonment based on the success of Sisters Inside programs. Ultimately proposes legislative and policy solutions, based on the available evidence.

Sisters Inside (2018) Submission by letter to Queensland Law Reform Commission re Review of Termination of Pregnancy Laws, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (5 pages)

Builds on Sister Inside’s 2016 submission to the Queensland Parliament.  Responds to specific questions raised by the QLRC in response to proposed legislation to decriminalise abortion in Queensland.  Also addresses particular issues affecting marginalised and disadvantaged women including access to abortion for women prisoners and women with disabilities, and cost.

Sisters Inside (2018) Submission by letter to Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee (Queensland Parliament) re Human Rights Bill 2018, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (3 pages)

This should be read alongside Sisters Inside’s 2016 submission to the Inquiry into a Human Rights Act for Queensland.  This submission proposes that the draft Bill be amended to include a stand-alone cause of action for unlawful breaches; the possibility for complainants to be awarded damages; the ability for adult and child prisoners to make direct complaints to the (forthcoming) Queensland Human Rights Commission; and the right to housing.   The Bill should not enable prison expansion through allocation of additional funding to make prisons human rights compliant.

Sisters Inside (2018) Submission by letter to Taskforce Flaxton, Crime and Corruption Commission, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (5 pages)

Addresses the risk of corruption within Queensland prisons and demonstrates that the unaccountable exercise of power within prisons both fosters corrupt conduct and makes it difficult to identify corruption.  The letter calls for changes to processes, greater transparency and independent oversight in relation to breaches of discipline; use of solitary confinement (both for discipline and ‘safety’); strip searching; use of force and mechanical restraints; and access to employment/services.

Sisters Inside (2017) Submission by letter to Department of Justice and Attorney-General regarding Feedback on Youth Justice (Transitional) Regulation 2017 (consultation draft), Sisters Inside, Brisbane (2 pages)

Outlines feedback on the consultation draft of the Transitional Regulation to transfer 17 year olds from the adult system to the youth justice system in Queensland. Suggestions regarding transfer of hearings, suspended sentences, parole, 17 year olds in adult prisons and language use.

Sisters Inside (2017) Submission by letter to Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee regarding Bail (Domestic Violence) and Another Act Amendment Bill 2017, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (5 pages)

Raises concerns with Opposition Bill to reverse the presumption of bail for certain domestic violence offences and proposal to increase use of electronic monitoring.  Identifies issues relating to the increasing criminalisation of women (especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women) for breaches of domestic violence protection orders.

Sisters Inside (2017) Submission by letter to Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee regarding Corrective Services (Parole Board) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (5 pages)

Comments on legislation to implement the creation of a single Parole Board for Queensland, as recommended by the Queensland Parole System Review. Recommends further provisions to enhance natural justice and transparency of the Parole Board’s decision-making. Recommends repeal of provisions relating to GPS monitoring. Raises concerns that GPS monitoring is an intrusive process that does not actually prevent people on parole from committing further offences.

Sisters Inside (2017) Submission by letter to Queensland Law Reform Commission’s Domestic violence disclosure scheme review, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (2 pages)

Raises concerns about implementation of such a scheme in Queensland, particularly in terms of lack of resources for women to live safely in the community, women’s disinclination to report violence to police and the impact of gender-blind domestic violence legislation in Queensland.

Sisters Inside (2017) Response to The next chapter in child protection legislation for Queensland: Options Paper (Department of Communities, Child Safety & Disability Services), Sisters Inside, Brisbane (9 pages)

Examines the failure of proposed solutions to address intersections between the child protection, criminal law and other government systems.  Particularly focuses on the importance of addressing harm of children at the hand of the state; systemic failures in areas such as health, education and housing; serious ongoing systemic failures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children; the central role of Indigenous-controlled organisations; the failure of discriminatory blue card requirements to protect Indigenous children; abolition of residential care; women and children’s right to natural justice and procedural fairness, including independent legal support and advocacy at all levels of the system; and the importance of independence of non-government service providers.

Sisters Inside (2016) Submission to the Inquiry into a Human Rights Act for Queensland (Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee), Sisters Inside, Brisbane (6 pages)

Demonstrates that current laws and processes for protecting human rights in Queensland have been manifestly inadequate in protecting the human rights of criminalised women and their children (as evidenced by failure to implement recommendations of the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland Women in Prison report). Strongly supports introduction of a Human Rights Act (HR Act) in Queensland, which includes the capacity to determine and remedy breaches of human rights.

Sisters Inside (2016) Supplementary Submission to Queensland Parole System Review – Consultation Paper: Possible changes to sentencing legislation concerning parole, Sisters Inside Brisbane (5 pages)

Addresses the 8 proposed legislative changes related to eligibility for parole, court-ordered parole (including an option to abolish court-ordered parole), pre-emptive cancellation of parole, mandatory non-parole and judges’ discretion in sentencing.

Sisters Inside (2016) Submission by letter to (Youth Affairs Network Queensland) YANQ Review Team on behalf of the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (5 pages)

Examines the importance and role of peak bodies in the community services sector and the unique contribution of YANQ to addressing the needs of disadvantaged and marginalised young people.

Sisters Inside (2016) Submission by letter to Queensland Parliamentary  Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee re removal of abortion from the Queensland Criminal Code and the principles underpinning the Abortion Law Reform (Women’s Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (3 pages)

Strongly supports the decriminalisation of abortion and associated draft legislation.  Makes a series of assertions about the benefits of law reform and addresses common myths associated with legalised abortion. Argues that inconsistent access to safe, legal terminations (including for women prisoners) is just one example of the many human rights of criminalised women which are currently being routinely breached in Queensland.

Sisters Inside (2016) Submission to Independent Review of Youth Detention in Queensland, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (24 pages)

Includes detailed evidence (87 footnotes), and is further informed by interviews with 6 young women.  Focuses on girls and young women in Queensland’s youth and adult prisons, in particular the over-representation of disadvantaged (particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) girls and the nexus between the child protection and justice systems.  Raises concerns about the age of criminal responsibility, the high rates of imprisonment on remand, and the ongoing use of strip searching, restraint, isolation and other forceful ‘behaviour management’ tools.  Calls for independent and transparent oversight and complaint mechanisms and evidence-based community-based transition support programs.

Sisters Inside (2009) Rights of Women Prisoners: Submission to the National Human Rights Consultation, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (93 pages)

Includes detailed evidence (101 footnotes) on the wide variety of issues affecting criminalised women, girls and their children.  Summarises recent state and national reviews of women prisoners’ human rights.  Details violations of their rights in Queensland in terms of sex discrimination and gender equality, including access to justice, treatment of women prisoners, right to health and safety and right to education. Also examines multi-discrimination against minority groups of criminalised women including race discrimination and Indigenous rights; disability discrimination; and age discrimination.  Examines human rights violations against the children and families of women prisoners, and supports legislating human rights in Australia.

Sisters Inside (2008) Responding to Homelessness: Sisters Inside Submission in Response to the FaHCSIA Green Paper, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (18 pp)

Focuses on the model of service best suited to responding to the needs of homeless women who are criminalised or at risk of criminalisation.  The model of service (Planned Support) was an early iteration of the current Sisters Inside model (Inclusive Support), which was developed through the 2006-7 National Homeless Strategy Demonstration Project.

Sisters Inside (2008) Improving Family Safety: Submission to the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (28 pages)

Proposes removing barriers to family safety for criminalised women and their children including legislative and procedural reform, addressing the impact of imprisonment, meeting basic human rights and improving support services.  Offers successful models and programs to address the effects of family violence.

Sisters Inside (2005) Submission of Sisters Inside to the 2005 Inquiry of the Australian Law Reform Commission on Sentencing of Federal Offenders [ALRC Issues Paper 29], Sisters Inside, Brisbane (27 pages)

Having identified the lack of data on sentencing of women, focuses on transfer/location of prisoners, equality of treatment of Federal prisoners, non-custodial options, consistency vs discretion in sentencing, administrative systems, parole decisions, revocation of parole, mental health issues, and children and other ‘special needs’ prisoners.

Sisters Inside (2003) Submission: Poverty in Australia Inquiry, Sisters Inside, Brisbane (24 pp)

This landmark submission draws on independent research undertaken by Sisters Inside which continues to provide a benchmark for analysis.  Describes SIS programs and projects at the time, provides a statistical overview of the women’s prison population and trends, and draws on interviews with 100 women prisoners in BWCC undertaken during 2000 (and detailed in Kilroy (2000) When Will you See the Real Us?).  Particularly focuses on Indigenous women prisoners, mothers in prison and very young women prisoners.  Addresses sexual assault of prisoners by the state, use of isolation, the importance of language and the economic drivers of women’s imprisonment.