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Australian bishops deplore rising incarceration rate

Catholic World News - September 05, 2011

The Australian Catholic bishops’ conference has called for action to reverse the explosive growth in the country’s prison population.

The number of prisoners in Australian jails has nearly doubled in the past 25 years, the bishops note, while reported crime rates have not changed appreciably. The bishops conclude that too many people are being consigned to prison.

The bishops’ statement also calls for action to attack the root causes of crime. "Among those who make up Australia's growing prison population are people who are often already suffering the burdens of dispossession, illness, poverty and alienation," said Adelaide’s

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  • Posted by: - Sep. 05, 2011 11:12 PM ET USA

    "attack the root causes of crime"? The root cause of crime is Original Sin, ya nein? the Australian Catholic bishops should focus their imaginations on the suffering of the victims of crime, not on the mental distress of those who have worked their way into the clink. And certainly not on statistics.

  • Posted by: stpetric - Sep. 05, 2011 5:24 PM ET USA

    The root cause of incarceration is law-breaking. If there are laws that need to be changed, they should be changed. If the sentences handed down are inappropriate, they should be adjusted. And if there are factors that mitigate the culpability of any particular defendant, they should be taken into account. But incarceration in itself is part of how society protects itself.

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