Shine Lawyers Ann Street Brisbane office was the scene of an exciting first meeting between Brian Newman and the representative from Human Rights Watch.
Kriti Sharma was the author of a report recently published concerning the incarceration of people with disabilities in Australian Prisons.
There were several confronting findings in the report, not all of which Brian Newman agrees with, but none the less, it is a report that should be read with interest and concern for the state of affairs generally in our justice system.
Brian Newman said "it's a tough ask to get Prison Officers behind this kind of report without investing time in getting to know the real stories behind the hype peddled by organisations with funding agendas or political motives" he said.
When a Prison Officer is confronted by a person with a disability in a Prison environment, and a potentially life threatening scenario, the first concern is never going to be for the Prisoner's long term mental health, general welfare or the challenges of life presented by physical disabilities, it will always be to resolve all doubt in the favour of the Prison Officers' safety and welfare, and there inlay the conflicting interests at a most fundamental level.
Time is the Name of the Game in Prison
Brian Newman told the Human Rights Watch that "time is the singular word that summarises all issues within a Prison environment, from the time a person is imprisoned, they mark time until they are released. The time it takes to respond to an incident in a Prison, will depend on the man hours and therefore "time" that the Prison administration has allocated to the staffing levels and operational duties internally to the Prison. Every single event in a Prison is about accounting for time" he said.
Brian Newman believes that if we can buy more time (man hours/staffing) then the chances are, we can assist more people with genuine and meaningful experiences and opportunities to correct offending behaviour and return convicted criminals to the general population (society at-large) as well and truly rehabilitated offenders capable of rising to community expectations and thereby advance the prospect of a better world and safer communities.