Join the RSA Melbourne Network as we explore community attitudes to violent crime, incarceration and rehabilitation.
Never has Australia been a safer place to live: serious crime rates have declined steadily in the last five years, the national murder rate is at an all-time low, and funding for law enforcement has increased proportionally to our growing population. Yet, despite our enhanced police presence and comparatively low crime figures, Australia's incarceration rates remain disproportionately high. Since 2009, Australian prisoner numbers have grown at a faster rate than in all but five OECD nations. Evidently, our perception of the prevalence and severity of crime does not match the reality.
Our punitive attitude to criminal behaviour is reflected in our communal desire to keep offenders locked up, rather than reintegrating them back into society. This lack of public confidence in the criminal justice system to successfully enact rehabilitation is behind the recent push in Victoria for harsher sentencing, particularly around repeat offenders. Yet, researchers suggest that the desire to exclude offenders from society, and the stigma associated with criminal behavior, is reinforcing the very cycle of violence we aim to prevent.
In this timely conversation with criminologist, Dr. Mayumi Purvis, and forensic psychologist, Simone Shaw, we look at the challenges facing our criminal justice system, discuss current treatment and intervention programs, and explore the need for greater public understanding to break the cycle of crime and support offender rehabilitation.
Dr. Mayumi Purvis is a consultant criminologist, University of Melbourne Honorary Fellow, academic course co-ordinator and co-lecturer in a post graduate coursework program (sexual offender management). She has specialised in the case management and reintegration needs of sexual offenders for 20 years and has trained many correctional staff across Australia. Mayumi has also presented and published widely in this area.
Simone Shaw is a Forensic Psychologist with over 20 years experience in the treatment and management of high risk sexual and violent offenders, both within Australian prisons, and in the community. For the last ten years Simone has worked as a consultant to various correctional agencies, training correctional staff in the best practice treatment and management of offenders, including co-lecturing in a post graduate course at the University of Melbourne in the Management of Sexual Offenders. Simone has recently been appointed the inaugural Clinical Director of Corrections Victoria.
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