In a selection of 40 animated films made by prisoners, shown as part of the Desert Festival, none found gaol an easy place to be, most longed for freedom and were full of resolve to not repeat mistakes; some struck tragic notes about the past and the present. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. Still at left from a film by Larry Doolan.
Low-security prisoners have completed 108,760 hours of gardening and maintenance works at the homes of eligible elderly and disabled Territorians and non-profit organisations in the 2012-13 financial year, visiting the yards of 929 pensioners and disabled persons each month and performing various duties including cleaning, rubbish removal, mowing and raking, writes John Elferink, Minister for Correctional Services (pictured).
Max and Jim (we've changed their names) are clearly not the kind of prisoners for whom the visionary "sentenced to a job and a future" scheme of Correctional Services Minister John Elferink is designed. He sees it as a step-up into the broader community for people, mostly Aboriginal, who've never worked before. Max and Jim are white and had significant backgrounds in employment and small business before their respective offences, which are in the mid-range of seriousness. But both have embraced the scheme so whole-heartedly that they seem set to have a major impact on its success. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo:"Jim" in the supermarket where he now works, serving Clifford Tilmouth.
Prisoners have been sent to work "in real jobs, for real money" as part of the Sentenced to a Job Program, first reported in the Alice Springs News Online on December 18, 2012. Minister for Correctional Services John Elferink (pictured) says the trial program has been successful beyond expectations and will be expanded.
When the new government gets cracking on its promised work camps for prisoners it needs to look no further than the Larapinta Trail, much of which was built by inmate labour in the 1990s. The current dry spell and the escalating threat from weeds to our neglected national parks, add urgency for a cheap workforce that can be deployed at short notice. The need to halt the decay of our prime natural assets, which should be bringing home the bacon for our flagging tourism industry, makes a good argument for change for people now doing time in what some regard as holiday comfort. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Pictured: Botanist Peter Latz with wattle burnt in a bushfire.
This Christmas, residents in Tennant Creek and its surrounds will benefit from more than $140,000 worth of community work undertaken by 44 Barkly Work Camp prisoners.
Correctional Services Minister Gerry McCarthy says since the $7 million work camp officially opened on September 8 under the new era of corrections, the prisoners had completed almost 10,000 hours of work across more than 30 projects.
Senior Station Fire Officer in Alice Springs, John Kleeman, says he would welcome the assistance of prisoners in reducing the fire fuel load south of the Gap, as is being pushed for by the Town Council.
Aldermen passed a motion last night to write to the Department of Lands and Planning "regarding engagement of Correctional Services" to help with this task "south of Heavitree Gap to the Municipal Boundary, incorporating the river and parklands".
Mr Kleeman says the fire service has been doing control burns in the area – including around Amoonguna "where a lot of people have been throwing matches" – and are continuing to do so today, as well as north of Emily Gap.
He says government contractors have also done a major slashing job along the river from John Blakeman Bridge to Colonel Rose Drive. The "trusties" (prisoners) could help to do more slashing, especially in areas where it's hard to get front-end loaders in to clear firebreaks.
While with slashing the fuel remains on the ground, having the grasses lie flat reduces the intensity of a fire that may go through.
Mr Kleeman says the town has been lucky so far to not lose property or life, but the situation could go "pear-shaped" at any time. He encourages the public to prepare their properties and report to police anyone acting suspiciously with fire. KIERAN FINNANE reports.