Try Something New

Re “The ACT should lead the way on reforms to the justice system” (September 23, p35). This caught my attention not for what it said, but for what was left unsaid. The recent report from the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare states: “Illicit drug use has been identified as a primary motivating factor in nonviolent property offences such as burglary and theft.”

And yet not a word about drugs in this opinion piece. Surely it is time a different strategy was used for treating people with drug problems. Better to treat drug dependency, which drives much of the crime, under the health portfolio, and thus free up beds for those “who have committed the most despicable of crimes”. Removing criminal sanctions for personal drug use, boosting treatment services, providing more treatment options including prescription dugs under supervision for the severely addicted and a more humane understanding of people suffering addiction and mental health problems would go a long way to reducing our prison population.

M McConnell

The Canberra Times, Monday 28 September 2020, p.21