I who may well be...

Musings from the perspective of a human being who may well be not locatable completely within the usual categories of male or female or gay or straight or transsexual or intersexed or exploiter or exploited or supplier or consumer or performer or spectator.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

eugenics and prisoners families

OPEN LETTER TO BOB DEBUS AND MORRIS IEMMA (respectively NSW Attorney General and Premier), regarding a bill to stop prisoners having access to IVF or to store semen.
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It is alarming that what your government is considering will punish people who have not committed a crime.

The wives and children of male criminals have not committed any offence, but they are to be doomed to be single children, if they have no brothers and sisters prior to their father's incarceration, or to be forced to commit adultery if they are wives who are childless and want children, or if they don't want their child to be an only child.

Some women still take seriously the religious instructions around marriage, and it is unfair to sentence them to choose between childlessness for them and their family (because this also affects potential grandparents and so on), and committing adultery.

It may not mean much in secular life where the only concern is making money for the private companies profiteering from the incarceration of human beings, but this proposal directly violates the sacred instruction "Those whom God hath joined together, let no one set asunder."

There are other values to consider in public life besides the base appeal to vengeance thought necessary to secure re-election. Please, consider the rights of those women and children, and the rights of everyone not to suffer cruel and unusual punishment, and the right of everyone to not be criminally punished when they are innocent. Blind vengeance is NOT justice.

[Background material follows]

From: Arthur Chesterfield-Evans
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 19:48:39 +1000
Subject: Negative eugenics Bill
To People Interested in Civil Liberties
The Corrective Services Legislation Amendment Bill has been passed
through the Lower House and will be introduced into the Legislative
Council . It will probably not be discussed tonight. There is Private
Mmbers business tomorrow until 5pm, and then only another one and half
hours of government business. It may therefore not come on until
Tuesday 30th.
It prohibits inmates who are serving sentences for indictable offences
from providing reproductive material for storage, and demands that
inmates who have already stored reproductive material to pay for such
storage.
According to my sources, this involves a minor involved in a rape case,
who needs treatment for lymphoma and wants to store his material.
Apparently there has been another case who also had a type of lymphoma.
I do not think that there is any evidence for the proposition that
violent tendencies are inherited. Presumably everyone can be
rehabilitated and castration is not part of the sentence, yet this is
effectively what is happening. My understanding is that this amounts to
negative eugenics.
I attach the Bill and the second reading speech is below. Frankly it
is likely to get through with the support of both major parties.
If people want to take action, they could email the Minister for
Corrective Services, Tony Kelly, the Attorney-General Bob Debus, or the
Premier, Morrris Iemma. The media is your hands.
Contact details are at:
http://bulletin/Prod/Parlment/Members.nsf/V3ListCurrentMinisters
CORRECTIONAL SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL
Bill introduced and read a first time.
Second Reading
Bill introduced and read a first time.
Second Reading
Mr PAUL McLEAY (Heathcote-Parliamentary Secretary) [11.21 p.m.]: I
move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
This bill introduces amendments to the Crimes (Administration of
Sentences) Act 1999 that were recently foreshadowed by the Premier. The
amendments will prohibit inmates who are serving sentences for serious
indictable offences, or who are awaiting sentencing for such offences,
from providing their reproductive material for use, or storage, for
reproductive purposes at hospitals or other places, and will require
inmates who have had their reproductive material stored for reproductive
purposes to pay charges for the storage during any period in which they
are imprisoned.
The bill amends the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 by
introducing new section 72B within division 8 of part 1 of the Act.
Division 8 of part 1 deals with miscellaneous issues including
health-related issues affecting inmates. The bill also amends the
Children (Detention Centres) Act 1987 to provide that new section 72B of
the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 applies to juveniles
subject to control in detention centres. The bill therefore applies to
males and females, adults and juveniles, who are imprisoned for
committing a serious indictable offence.
Application of the amendments to both adult and juvenile offenders is
necessary for consistency of operation, particularly in the case of
offenders who progress from juvenile detention to adult custody on
reaching the statutory age. Application to both male and female inmates
is intended to ensure that the legislation cannot be challenged on the
basis of breaching the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
Restricting the prohibition to inmates in full-time custody for
committing a strictly indictable offence will ensure that only those
inmates convicted of very serious offences will be subject to the
ban-inmates whose crimes the community abhors and to whom community
concerns apply.
I now turn to the detail of the bill. Schedule 1 item [1] inserts
proposed section 72B into the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act
1999. Section 72B (1) defines expressions used in the proposed section.
Serious indictable offender is defined to cover inmates serving a
sentence of imprisonment for a serious indictable offence, or awaiting
sentencing for such an offence. A serious indictable offence is an
offence that may be dealt with only on indictment, and includes offences
committed elsewhere than in New South Wales which, if committed in New
South Wales, would be serious indictable offences, and various terrorism
offences. Examples of offences covered by the definition are offences
such as murder, sexual assault and kidnapping.
Section 72B (2) prevents the granting of leave of absence to a serious
indictable offender for the purpose of the offender providing
reproductive material for use, or storage, for reproductive purposes at
any hospital or other place. Section 72B (3) makes it an offence for a
serious indictable offender to provide reproductive material for use, or
storage, for reproductive purposes at any hospital or other place. This
section imposes a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units or imprisonment
for 6 months, or both. One hundred penalty units is the maximum penalty
applicable under comparable legislation, the Human Tissue Act 1983, for
obtaining or using a sperm donor's semen for an improper purpose. A
custodial sentence is desirable as an alternative or additional penalty
for an inmate who may not be deterred by the prospect of facing only a
financial penalty.
Section 72B (4) requires prisoners other than serious indictable
offenders, who have their reproductive material stored for reproductive
purposes at hospitals or other places, to pay a charge for storage of
the material. Section 72B (5) requires serious indictable offenders
whose reproductive material was stored for reproductive purposes before
the commencement of the proposed section to pay a charge for storage of
the material. Schedule 2 amends section 29 of the Children (Detention
Centres) Act 1987 to apply the new section to be inserted by schedule 1
to persons subject to control within the meaning of that Act. I commend
the bill to the House.
Debate on motion by Mr Thomas George adjourned.
Sincerely
Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans MLC
NSW Parliamentary Leader
Australian Democrats
ph: 02 9230-2303
fax: 02 9230-2866
email: ace.mlc@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Get a new perspective on NSW at ACE's website,
www.chesterfieldevans.com

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