Another attack of lunacy – letter to the NT News

Dear editor

I wonder how many of the 84% of NT News respondents who think NT courts are too soft on criminals are aware of any of the following indisputable facts:

  1. NT judges and magistrates are tougher on crime than other states and territories. The NT has an imprisonment rate almost 4 times higher than the Australian average, while the crime rate per head for both property and violent crimes is around twice the national average.
  2. We have many more police per head of population than any other jurisdiction.
  3. Crime rates for property crime actually rose while mandatory sentencing was in force for those offences up to 2001 (although that’s probably a coincidence).
  4. Crime rates have fallen in most categories of property crime over the last 5 years, while robberies and assaults have risen significantly and homicides and sexual assaults have remained about the same.
  5. The Territory has higher crime rates overall than other parts of Australia because we have a much younger population, many more indigenous residents, a much higher population suffering significant socio-economic disadvantage, and much higher levels of alcohol consumption.  All but the last of those factors is almost completely beyond the control of any Territory government irrespective of what actions it may choose to take.

Yours faithfully

Ken Parish

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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13 years ago

This week’s Economist had incarceration (in the US) as its cover item. Unfortunately my dad is writing a letter on prison policy for his work so he took my copy home before I read it, and I never get around to reading the online version. Not sure if non-subscribers can access that link.

A good letter, too, I’m glad people like you have these fits of lunacy from time to time. Even if it doesn’t do a lick of good!

Richard Phillipps
Richard Phillipps
13 years ago

Last time I looked at this blog it had two views on the legal system: the first was that too much jail time was not enough; the second was that the hearsay rule is the work of the devil and I know because someone told me that someone told him so. Has there been a change in sentiment on at least one of these views?