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Criminal Justice blog maintained by Alistair Harkness and Bridget Harris of Criminal Justice, Monash University.
Views expressed here are their own.

Criminal Justice Roundup: 101 sites to check out

A new site has been established which provides a wealth of information regarding criminal justice issues, and is targeted towards CJ students. One particular feature is the Criminal Justice Roundup which contains links to 101 criminal justice organisations and blog sites. Although most of the sites are US-based, there is nevertheless a wealth of info for Australian students contained within.

“Criminal justice systems locally and globally make it their goal to reduce crime and maintain the rule of law. The effectiveness of these systems is always in flux, and there are a great number of institutions, public and private, dedicated to understanding and improving criminal justice systems. The criminal justice system employs an incredible number of people in various roles, from police officers who enforce the law at the street level, to lawmakers, judges, attorneys, corrections officers, and others with varying levels of authority to interpret and enforce the law.”

Here is the site:

Criminal Justice Roundup

Courting justice beyond the cityscape: Access to justice and the rural, regional and remote magistrates’ courts

Bridget Harris and two colleagues have just published a fascinating article in the February 2014 edition of the Journal of Judicial Administration.

Courting justice beyond the cityscape: Access to justice and the rural, regional and remote magistrates’ courts Bridget Harris, Lucinda Jordan and Lydia Phillips

“The lower courts in Australia are important spaces. These “people’s courts” handle the majority of civil and criminal matters and can profoundly shape perceptions, not only of the courts but of the criminal justice system at large. Lower courts play a key role in educating and guiding court workers and are places where innovative practices are pioneered and social change is pursued. Despite their significance there has been little review of the lower courts, even less of courts beyond the cityscape. In this article the authors explore the history, role and operations of lower courts in rural, regional and remote Australia to assess how the courts respond to the needs and diversity of different community groups and regions; they identify barriers to justice and signal emerging areas of research.”

Victorian Farm Crime Survey


Are you concerned about farm crime?

Have you been the victim of farm crime?

Have you avoided farm crime by implementing crime prevention measures?


To access the survey, CLICK HERE


We want to:

  • understand the extent that crime occurs on farms in rural and regional Victoria
  • identify which types of crime are most prevalent and what are the causes
  • identify crime prevention measures for Government, police, the courts, individual farmers and farm communities

The survey is anonymous. Participation is voluntary.

We know your time is precious – but the involvement of Victorian farmers is vital in tackling farm crime in this state.


To access the survey, CLICK HERE


This project aims to address the issue of property crime against farms by:

  • assessing the demographic profile of both offenders and victims;
  • examining the extent and location of farm crime in Victoria;
  • considering the effect of farm crime on the economic and social wellbeing of rural and regional communities;
  • outlining existing policing practices to confront farm crime;
  • analysing alternative policing practices drawing upon research and procedures from other jurisdictions; and
  • determining a suite of strategies for the prevention and control of property crime against farms and for the improvement of service delivery.

For all enquiries:

Dr Alistair Harkness
Criminal Justice, Monash University
Tel:(03) 5122 6760

Police, pickets and death: Past and present

Paper presented by David Baker, Monash University

Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology conference for 2013

Tuesday 1 October 2013 – Brisbane
Abstract of paper:

Despite the precarious nature of the policing of picket-lines, death has occurred rarely throughout Australia’s industrial disputation history. This paper explores three case-studies in which workers, innocent victims, were killed during industrial confrontation as the result of the use of police force, the only occasions when such fatalities have resulted in Australia. This paper highlights the direct policing involvement that led to these deaths, the lack of accountability of police and the deficiencies in the administration of justice. It argues that the three deaths, during a prolonged and bitter era of class warfare, highlights some glaring characteristics of police dysfunction and inadequacies. Although there has been no police-inflicted industrial death since 1929 in Australia, this historical research can stimulate comparative questions and lessons about recent events such as the fatal police shooting of 44 miners at Marikana, South Africa, in 2012.

A new era of prisons in Victoria

The Victorian Liberal-National Coalition government has a strong law and order agenda, and the most recent announcement of an expansion of the planned Ravenhall Prison in Melbourne’s West in further confirmation of this. Originally planned as a 500 bed male prison with opportunity for expansion, it will now be built as a 1000 bed prison, and when completed in 2017 will be one of Australia’s largest.

There has been increasing consternation regarding prison overcrowding, with some prison insiders identifying this as a significant issue in a recent ABC report, and with reports of the use of fold-out beds and and the possibility that prisoners might be housed in caravans as possible temporary fixes to the overcrowding issue. Victoria Police has expressed concern about the housing of prisoners in police station cells.

The Victorian Auditor General presented a report to Parliament in November 2012 regarding prison capacity in Victoria, noting that “by 2016 the male and female prison systems will not have sufficient capacity to meet increases in prisoner numbers”.

The key question is, of course, whether building new prisons is the answer to addressing crime in Victoria – or are there smarter ways of making our community safer. Perhaps now is the time to actively consider the benefits of justice reinvestment, an approach adopted in the state of Texas which has actually seen a prison closed.

Police, pickets and death: Past and Present

David Baker will be presenting at the 2013 Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology conference in Brisbane at the start of October, presenting a paper of Police, Pickets and Death: Past and Present. David is an internationally renowned expert in the policing of disputes, and has written extensively on the subject including his 2004 book Batons and Blockades: Policing industrial disputes in Australasia.

Useful twitter feeds for ATS1284: The Criminal Justice Process

For all the ATS1284 students looking for some really useful twitter feeds, try following these for a start:

Criminal Justice

LIJ LawInstJournal

Future Melbourne Law


Innocence Project

Prison Watch Network

Urban Youth Justice



The Justice Project

Justice Department

Criminal Justice


Supreme Court of Vic

Smart Justice




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