Defined Terms

Recognised Australian Punishment Historians and Practitioners (and reference documents)


  1. Dr. Don Weatherburn, Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

  2. Keith Hamburger, who formerly ran Queensland’s jail system as the state’s first Director General of Corrective Services - a career public servant

  3. Eileen Baldry, a leading criminologist and University of New South Wales Deputy Vice-Chancellor

  4. Nicholas Cowdrey, former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions

  5. Professor Peter Graboskyt author of "ON THE HISTORY OF PUNISHMENT IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND" -  July 1991

  6. Isobelle Barrett Meyering thesis Contesting corporal punishment: Abolitionism, transportation and the British imperial project - University of Sydney - Oct 2008 - - provides 'inter alia' an accurate account of Capital and Corporal Punishment sentences in the initial 100 years after settlement

  7. The late Robert Hughes author of the highly acclaimed 'The Fatal Shore' - Review by the New York Times - provides 'inter alia' an accurate account of Capital and Corporal Punishment sentences in the initial 100 years after settlement

  8. A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson - Watkin Tench - written in 1791

  9. Andrew Bushnell, Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs where he leads the Criminal Justice Project, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of Melbourne

  10. Sarah Hopkins, a managing solicitor for the Aboriginal Legal Service and chair of Just Reinvest NSW

In 2011, Crikey published the below 11 articles chronicling many problems in Australia's prisons

In April 2015 over 17 days The Conversationpublished  14 Articles on the State of Imprisonment


Solutions To Reduce Prison Populations - in different countries' jurisdictions

In Britain



Retired Chief Inspector of Prisons in England, Nick Hardwick - (1st extract therein) - (referred to in Australia's jail population hits record high after 20-year surge)

From stocks to ducking stools: A British history of crime and punishment  -  STEPHEN HALLIDAY - 1 July 2014

Below are pertinent extracts from Are prisons in England and Wales facing a meltdown? – UK Guardian - Mark Townsend and Michael Savage

Ex-offender and former drug abuser Mark Johnson founded the charity User Voice to encourage prisoner rehabilitation. “Being incarcerated in this country at the moment,” he says, “is being in a system tantamount to torture. You’re in a place of chaos. You may have left behind a life of chaos, but it’s like going from frying pan into the fire.”

Overpopulated, under-resourced, drug and pest-infested and terrifyingly violent, no public institution in England and Wales, according to expert consensus, has deteriorated more dramatically and more profoundly in recent years than our prisons.

Since October, the parliamentary justice committee has been investigating what no one now denies is a crisis in our prisons. According to Bob Neill, the committee’s Conservative chairman: “We really need to have a serious conversation about what we use prison for. Society has to think about that.”

Neill cited a vignette from a recent inspection of HMP Liverpool as illustrative of the challenges facing the penal estate. “The inspector went into one cell where the shower wasn’t working, the lavatory was broken and flooding. There was a mattress with a guy on it with mental health problems who had been there for six weeks. How much of our prisons now are just warehousing for people with mental health and other issues?”

Lord Woolf, the former lord chief justice who wrote the report on the 1991 Strangeways prison riot, said that a complete government rethink was required, beginning with the need to address overcrowding.

I’m afraid we’ve got to have a complete reassessment of the situation. Although you can’t change the situation overnight, there has been a complete breakdown in recognising the fact that serious action is needed and recognising that the only way to do it is to have a long-term plan.” If any plan is to succeed, the prerequisite will surely be a reversal of the deep cuts that have stripped away thousands of experienced prison staff.  Between 2012 and 2016, as the prison population rose, frontline staff fell by more than 7,000. A commitment to recruit 2,500 new prison officers has since been made, but Todd feels it is nowhere near enough.

Campaigner Mark Johnson said simply: “Report after report of evidence is being unearthed and yet nothing is changing. We need to start asking the question: what is prison for? We need to talk about what is happening.”

The UK Guardian article Government ineptitude over many years has resulted in overcrowded jails and reoffending on a huge scale 25 Feb 2018 provides incisive comments from two 'practitioners':

John Bensted, Retired Chief Probation Officer of Gloucestershire Probation Trust, Bristol
David J Cornwell, Gloucestershire - author of
Criminal Punishment and Restorative Justice: Past, Present and Future Perspectives

Loss of experienced staff leaving prisons unsafe - Published: 29 Apr 2018:

       Jails have lost officers with 70,000 years of experience between them in the past decade

Exclusive: shock figures reveal crisis state of prisons in England and Wales - Published: 18 Feb 2018

        Observer analysis of inspection reports shows two in five jails are unsafe and inadequate conditions prevail in over two-thirds

‘I strongly believe we can improve our prisons and make progress’ - Rory Stewart - Published: 18 Feb 2018

       The prisons minister argues that basic reforms already in place will begin to address the crisis

‘I always say to a woman who may be in a dark place – if I can make it, so can you’ Published: 19 Feb 2017 38

      Jean Corston endured poverty and tragedy before becoming an MP and now a peer. Now, 10 years after her landmark report, she is still fighting to reform women’s prisons

Suicide, self-harm, stabbings and riots – prisons reach crisis point Published: 13 Nov 2016

New crisis in prisons as suicides hit record levels  30 Oct 2016

I’ve seen how our jails wreck human potential. Reform will take courage  Peter Stanford - 22 May 2016 131

Let’s keep mothers out of Scotland’s prisons  Kevin McKenna - 29 Mar 2015 166 Comments


In the USA

Crime and Punishment in America - ELLIOTT CURRIE

History of Crime And Punishment in America


In Canada

Public Services foundation of Canada - Crisis in Correctional Services: Overcrowding and inmates with mental health problems in provincial correctional facilities