Pubdate: Fri, 09 Mar 2001
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2001 The Sydney Morning Herald
Contact:  GPO Box 3771, Sydney NSW 2001
Fax: 61-(0)2-9282 3492
Author: Ian Rodgers
Note: Headline supplied by newshawk


I have recently finished a stint as a Legal Aid solicitor in Fairfield. 
Until a month ago, all people charged with offences in Cabramatta appeared 
at Fairfield Court. (They now go to Liverpool.)

Cabramatta is a vibrant, culturally rich suburb. And then there's the flip 
side - the drug scene. Controlling drug-related crime, or eradicating it, 
is one of the more complex problems facing our community. The approach used 
now is simply not working and no amount of money spent on policing will 
change that.

Of course, the real challenge is to educate the average bloke who's more 
interested in a punt at the TAB. At the moment, he thinks that all drug 
users are scum and should be sent to jail. He probably hasn't heard about 
the revolving jail door and doesn't know that deterrence is a fiction where 
heroin users are concerned. He may not know about alternatives to the 
existing system, approaches that may mean fewer house break-ins and car 
thefts, resulting in lower insurance premiums and an extra dollar on horse 
four in the fourth. Parliaments will not implement changes until our punter 
believes that change is necessary.

Ian Rodgers
Bondi Beach
March 7
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