There is a lot of discussion concerning how associates/members of “bikie gangs” are to receive much harsher jail conditions than any other inmate.
The new laws are wide sweeping – one aspect sets out how associates and members of named motorcycle clubs should be treated once in jail – basically they will be treated far harsher than any other prisoner, irrespective of the nature of their offence or sentence.
This could mean (for example) that if someone is an “associate” or “member” of a named motorcycle club, then he (or she) will suffer far more serious conditions in jail than a rapist, pedophile or murderer, simply because they are an “associate” or “member” of a named motorcycle club.
The jail conditions for associates of any of the named motorcycle clubs include:
- A separate dedicated facility.
- Being kept in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day.
- The banning of televisions from cells, scrutiny of phone calls and mail and increased drug testing.
- Restricted food – bread and soup.
- Clothing designed to embarrass.
- Currently incarcerated members/associates potentially face a mandatory 15 year extension of their sentence, simply because of a past association with an outlawed motorcycle club.
There is considerable concern for how this will effect inmates on the path to rehabilitation because the legislation is all about punishment, not rehabilitation.
There is no provision in the new laws allowing for prisoners who have strong evidence of rehabilitation, or who have ceased any past association or membership.
The onus of proving that you are an associate has been reversed – the onus falls upon the person, not the State.
Normally citizens are innocent until proven guilty – the effect of the new laws is that you are an associate until you prove otherwise.
The Daily Mercury published an article detailing statements made by members of the Uniting Church, noting The Uniting Church has teams of prison chaplains who work to support inmates and their families with their rehabilitation process.
The full article in The Daily Mercury can be read via the following link: http://www.dailymercury.com.au/news/bleijies-church-criticised-hardline-bikies-jail-po/2107164/
We will be posting updates and articles on the new laws in our news feed.
The UMCQ is raising funds to fight the laws – if you wish to make a donation, click the donation button on the left side of this page:http://www.umcinc.com.au/.