How Debbie Kilroy achieves change for women and girls in the criminal legal system

Debbie Kilroy OAM is the CEO of Sisters Inside and one of Australia’s leading advocates for criminalised women and children.

If I was Premier of a State, or Chief Minister of a Territory, I would close all youth prisons immediately. I’d decriminalise minor, non-violent offences, such as public nuisance and drug possession charges, which account for the vast majority of women prisoners. Trauma is the other key contributor to criminalisation of women, with the vast majority of women prisoners having survived violence. I’d outlaw re-traumatising practices routinely practiced in Australian women’s prisons, particularly strip searching and solitary confinement. I’d ensure domestic violence legislation was gendered (for example, since de-gendered legislation was introduced, breach of DVO’s has joined the top ten reasons for women’s imprisonment in Queensland!) And, I’d outlaw mandatory sentences which do not allow the judiciary to make judgements based on the wider context of an offence. Once prisons emptied, I would close them one by one.

Source: How Debbie Kilroy achieves change for women and girls in the criminal legal system

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