INMATES SQUEEZED INTO NSW JAILS AS PRISONER NUMBERS HIT RECORD HIGH

Crime statistics released on Thursday showed the NSW adult prison population grew by 9% between April 2015 and March this year, to a new record high of 12,390 inmates.

The population has increased by 15% in the past two years, largely due to the growth in the number of prisoners on remand that followed changes to the state’s bail laws in May 2014.

The director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (Bocsar), Dr Don Weatherburn, said the new laws had led to a sharp increase in the number of defendants refused bail at their first appearance.

“Since more than half of all remand prisoners end up receiving a prison sentence, the rise in the bail refusal rate is one of the factors putting upward pressure on the NSW prison population,” he said.

By Michael Safi; more at The Guardian, 28th April 2016

30 YEARS AFTER CHERNOBYL, AUSTRALIA STILL HASN’T LEARNED TO LEAVE URANIUM IN THE GROUND

The Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, directly fuelled by Australian uranium, sparked calls from the UN for all uranium producing countries to hold a cost benefit analysis into uranium mining.

The Australian government has consistently ignored such calls for a review of the safety and compliance and costs of this sector. Instead, Australia has pushed ahead – against advice from senior Australian bureaucrats – to sign a uranium supply deal with India, a country that has a nuclear weapons program and is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

By Josephine Vallentine; more at The Guardian, 26 April 2016

WHAT NOBODY DARES SAY TO YOU ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE …

… we were confirmed in our understanding that the world’s biggest companies, including Exxon, have known for decades … the harm fossil fuels is doing to humans and our atmosphere, but they press ahead anyway.

We heard about compliant governments, particularly in the USA, who create laws and trade deals that foster the use of these fuels. About how our own government signed the climate change deal in Paris (which is already out of date in any case – the much-touted 2C limit has already been surpassed) while in the same week it was approving the world’s largest coal mine.

By Elizabeth Fleetwood; more at Tasmanian Times, 25th April 2016

The big green furphy: experts bust degradable plastic bag myth

Next time you accept a degradable plastic bag at the supermarket, think again – you may be doing little to help the environment and adding dangerous microplastics to rivers and oceans, experts say.

The warning has prompted a Senate committee to call for a public awareness campaign to explain the differences between degradable, biodegradable, compostable and traditional plastic bags – and how they should be disposed of – to educate consumers who mistakenly believe they are doing the right thing.

By Nicole Hasham; more at The Guardian, 25th April 2016

Why prisoner Acura ‘Junior’ Niuqila is being released from Long Bay jail to play rugby league every weekend

Not long after former Wallabies Sevens player Acura “Junior” Niuqila finishes playing for the Redfern All Blacks against Moore Park this Sunday he’ll be escorted by a NSW corrective services guard to a vehicle and transported back to Long Bay prison where he’s serving time for armed robbery.

By Daniel Lane; read more at The Sydney Morning Herald

Death Penalty Debate Emerging In Utah’s Right

A surprising new conversation is occurring within the circles of the political Right in Utah: the abolition of the death penalty.

Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty was founded in order to give those on the Right space to advocate the end of capital punishment. Marc Hyden, the organization’s national advocacy coordinator, said that the death penalty egregiously violates conservative and libertarian principles.

By Evan Hall; at Utah Public Radio

Italy leads way on prison reform but system in crisis

Bollate, a prison near Milan, is unlike any other.

Bollate is a model jail that attracts visitors from all over Europe, keen to learn from its policies of rehabilitation and reinsertion into active life. It has workshops, and even stables.

But it is the only one of its kind in Italy.

The national situation is much bleaker, despite penal reforms.

Prisons from another century, another world.

By Lilia Rotoloni; more at euronews.com