Title: NSW policy for infinite detention Essay Example

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101563 Contemporary Perspectives in Criminology

Title: NSW policy for infinite detention

The NSW policy on infinite detention

The NSW policy on infinite detention refers to the incarceration of individuals who have been arrested and are subjected to such treatment without any prior trial. Infinite detention is against the rights of suspects although the Australian government has practiced this several years from the time when some refuges were subjected to detention without trial. This policy aims at reducing the reoccurrence of offences in a country especially if the offender is more likely to repeat the same crime. In this regard it is better to prevent occurrence of a similar crime through incineration other than engage in trial that may result in release of an offender who will repeat the same crime. Hence for the sake of a vice free society, such criminals are infinitely detained to protect the innocent citizens. This policy is referred to as the Australian infinite detainment policy and it was developed by the ministry of defense in Australia (Scottish Executive, 2006).

The NSW policy on infinite detention is applicable on a number of cases such that not all criminals are infinitely detained as the nature of crime hugely determines the nature of detention that is extended to the offender. Some of the crimes or scenarios where the offender is infinitely detained include Australians who are found committing crimes for the first time. Such a scenario is more complex as at times it is often difficult to release the said offender due to risks posed by the task hence the best option is detaining them without trial (Mendelson, 2002).

The policy also works towards reducing the number of unlawful citizens in Australia as such individuals would easily end up diluting the Australian culture by introducing vices that were not originally present in the country (DIMIA, 2004). Some of the criminals could be having plans of committing offences in Australia forever thus posing greater safety risks to Australia therefore their dreams have to be cut short before any damage is inflicted on the entire society. The NSW policy of infinite detention aims at passing out long term or lifetime imprisonment for individuals who pose danger on the country or its resources based on assessments that are carried out by specialists (Scottish Executive, 2006).

Rehabilitation or corrective management is extended to those with mental disorders as these could prove disastrous to the country. Consequently, it is vital for such offenders who have been involved in crimes that are related to their emotions to be subjected to adequate measures to change their way of life. However, if rehabilitation fails, then imprisonment for life is encouraged because the offender may prove a risk to the entire community. These measures are laid out for first time offenders of serious crimes or other criminals who engage in terrorist activities (Ruschena, 2003).

In criminal forensic, the psychiatrists and psychologists are given the responsibility of evaluating the future risk that is posed by the suspect. Consequently, such risk assessment is essential as it establishes the mental status of the detainee and in addition to this determines if there are any threats that are being harbored that may affect the peace in the country. Presence of antisocial traits in individuals who are under infinite detention, act as evidence to incarcerate the offender. For instance a combination of characteristics such as being male and having a past record of criminal activities are among some of the risks that make infinite detention eminent for such an offender (Hester & Eglin, 1992).

Criminology allows for the offenders to be subjected to adequate medical checkups such that the mental, physical and emotional status of the person is determined before they are detained. This is because some offenders may be having poor or badly damaged mental conditions that may pose danger to the entire country. Therefore, infinite detention becomes the most accurate way of reducing terrorism in a country. In the early 2000s however, the NSW was modified in the part of serious offenders who posed safety risks in Australia being released and granted rehabilitation in the country as long term infinite detention proved impossible for this category of offenders (DIMIA, 2004).

The NSW policy tends to lay more emphasis on the unlawful citizens whose presence in Australia is highly suspected. The period of detention is determined by the length of time that will be taken by police officers and investigators to establish the intent of the suspect. Evidence obtained is used to verify the case without any trials as the authorities’ work dependently of the suspect or any witnesses. Consequently, suspects are not presented with adequate rights to testify against their case or to justify their activities in Australia as their views may never be sought while they are incarcerated (Ashworth, 1995).

The criminal justice system in Australia is aimed at reducing occurrence of crimes that would otherwise have been prevented if the offender had been incarcerated earlier. A repeat of criminal offences is often severe in any judicial system as the repeat could be of higher magnitude than the first offence especially in terrorism activities. The prolonged or lifetime sentence is effective in curbing criminal activities committed by offenders as detainment detaches them from their victims. Similarly, incarceration is often accompanied by close monitoring hence no crime like activities are entertained by the offenders (Scottish Executive, 2006).

The NSW policy on infinite detention has achieved a lot of set goals and objectives top on the list being reduction of terrorism in Australia as compared to other countries in the world. Terrorists found in Australia or those traveling in the country must be in possession of legal documents which are original otherwise they end up being detained for long periods until their dreams are shattered. This has been achieved through the collaborative efforts between the authorities and criminal justice system that has ensured that all individuals in Australia are either lawful citizen or else they spend the rest of their life behind bars. Consequently, the fact that incarceration cuts off occurrence of criminal activities makes it possible to reduce chances of anyone ever posing safety threats in the country (Richardson & Freiberg, 2004).

The other achievement is ensuring that the society of Australians is freed of terrorists or individuals with ill motives. This is important as such criminal activities can easily be learnt by other community members against the will of the judicial system. Society is given the responsibility of minimizing criminal actions in the Australia by reporting any suspicious looking individuals whose character is questionable. This was formulated in line with the criminological theory that describes crime as a behavior that can be learnt just like any smoking. Such learnt behaviors can be prevented by restricting contact with the ‘professionals’ through long term detainment (Barak, 1998).

The success of the NSW policy on infinite detention is attributed to the fact that it is a practical policy. This is because for any offender to execute his criminal activities, he/she must be able to access resources or equipment that will aid in the undertaking. However, when such an individual is kept under subsequent supervision while at the same time being restricted in terms of privileges, rights and movement, execution of the task becomes difficult. This is a sure way of providing immunity for society and the county against future threats posed by the offender as the punishment imposed on them prohibits any further harm befalling stakeholders (Ashworth, 1995).

The other achievement presented by the NSW policy of infinite detention is that the Australian citizens are faced with fewer needs to fend for the refugees as the government undertakes such activities. The welfare of all detainees whether long term or short term is taken over by the Australian authorities. The contractual contract between society and the state dictates that both parties have to work together in the fight against crime in the country such that all the tasks are not delegated to a single party (McSherry, 2004).

The NSW policy on infinite detention has been very effective in its role of curbing crime in Australia as it provides an avenue through which criminals and first time offenders are prohibited from engaging in crimes in future. Criminology as a science entails studying the fundamentals on which the previous crime was committed so as to determine if the same will reoccur in future. This is because any crime that is most likely to recur especially if the criminal has a longer record of subsequent crimes can be prevented in time thus saving many lives that could be lost in such an occurrence (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990).

The other essence in effectiveness of reducing crime rates this way is because tourists often visit foreign countries with legal documents that make them less capable of engaging in crime as their identity is known. Consequently, migration without adequate documentation shows that the intent of travel could be suspicious hence the need to put in place adequate caution as in the imprisonment without trial for those contradicting the set policies. Presentation of another option for mentally challenged offenders where rehabilitation is offered is quite effective as it ensures that first time offenders are given a chance to change their ways before they encounter subsequent trouble with the Australian authorities.

Society has also contributed towards effecting the NSW policy on infinite detention as it tends to provide unfavorable breeding grounds for local offenders. This has been fundamental towards reduced cases in the country even when those who were initially detained without trial are released and awarded visas. Therefore, the policy has generally played a great role towards reducing crimes committed by enemy combatants illegally living in the Australia (Scottish Executive, 2006).


In conclusion, despite the hot debates and controversies surrounding the NSW policy on infinite detention the practice has been beneficial in reducing the number of cases involving foreign criminals in Australia. Consequently, society has benefited tremendously from a crime free environment courtesy of the mutual collaboration between the state authorities and members of the public. Similarly, professionals in criminology and other areas of forensic science have been categorical in the realization of the objectives set for this policy. All in all offenders who pose a risk of repeating the same offence have been prevented form engaging in such activities in future therefore, resulting in achievement of the criminal justice system’s aims in protecting the Australia and its citizens from harm.


Ashworth, A., 1995, Sentencing and criminal justice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Barak, G., 1998, Integrative criminology (International Library of Criminology, Criminal Justice & Penology.), Aldershot: Ashgate/Dartmouth

DIMIA, Annual Report 2003–04, DIMIA, 2004.deportation under the Australian constitution. Retrieved on May 22, 2011 from: http://www.dimia.gov.au/annual_report

Gottfredson, M., & Hirschi T., 1990, A General Theory of Crime. Stanford: Stanford University Press

Hester, S. & Eglin, P., 1992, A Sociology of Crime, London, Routledge

McSherry, B., 2004, Risk assessment by mental health professionals and the prevention of future violent behavior. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no.281. Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra

Mendelson D., 2002, Judicial responses to the protected confidential communications legislation in Australia. Journal of law and medicine 10(1): 49-60

Richardson, E., & Freiberg, A., 2004, Protecting dangerous offenders from the community: the application of protective sentencing laws in Victoria, Criminal justice 4(1): 81-102

Ruschena, D., 2003, Determining dangerousness: whatever happened to the rules of justice? Psychiatry, psychology and law 10(1): 122-140

Scottish Executive, 2006, Risk management authority, retrieved on May 22, 2011, from: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Justice/criminal/17309/14128 .

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