By ERWIN CHLANDA
During the Afghans’ days a horse and a camel were pitted against each other in a race from Oodnadatta to Alice, each carrying (I think) a piano.
The horse won and dropped dead.
The camel ran all the way back to Oodnadatta.
Now a new Alice Springs volunteer group says it hopes to fundamentally improve law and order in the town as the time has come we put our money on the right creature.
People convicted of a crime will be offered involvement in monitored commercial ventures, possibly horticulture and solar power generation.
These ventures will become the participants’ property, providing a good living for their families, and making them independent from welfare, ideally over decades or generations.
Most importantly, the prisoners will be able to negotiate an early parole, at the discretion of the sentencing judge, of course.
The sustained effort the prisoner invests into the venture will determine the parole conditions.
On the other hand, should the prisoner fail, his involvement in the scheme will end, he will be fairly compensated for the assets he may have already created, they revert to the scheme and the prisoner loses his early parole privileges.
But when all goes well, the ex-prisoner, during the gaol term and after, will accumulate property and community recognition and become a model for others.
We have raised this idea with Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Grant who encouraged us to pursue it.
Initially the focus of the commercial activities will be near the prison, close to the Brewer industrial estate, on the Stuart Highway, the railway line, water and electricity services.
Another bonus: Australia’s debilitating lack of fruit pickers won’t be a problem. We’ll have 600 potential ones in the gaol, in walking distance of the growing fields, who could be employed without having to be transported across the whole continent.
The “win-win”: Less recidivism; saving of $100,000 per adult prisoner per year on gaol costs; saving of $250,000 per juvenile prisoner per year for gaol costs; less court work; less police work; less family welfare assistance; ability to transfer the system to remote areas; increased food security for the region; increased GDP.
We will get administrative assistance from Dr Dan Tyne and the main sponsor will be the Alice Springs News, 0418 890040, firstname.lastname@example.org
Immediate tasks (put your hand up!) registration under the NT Associations Act; obtain head lease from NT Government on land near prison of Owen Springs, owned by the public, say 30 hectares of its 1,570 square kilometres; obtain 50 year agreement with Power Water for purchase of electricity from Project Freedom at the same rate Power Water sells it to the public; promote Project Freedom.
PHOTO: Pitchi Ritchi Railway.
All the best,
Mob 0418 890040