As many of you, especially those of you in Australia, would already know, the so called “Bali Nine” are receiving their penalties for their drug smuggling activities. So far these penalties have either been a life sentence or a death sentence. Considering the misery and suffering that the substances which these nine people were attempting to smuggle would have caused if they had been successful, and especially considering that they would have made a profit from this suffering, I feel that the sentences are fair and good.
With the apparent corruption and other problems with the Indonesian justice system taken out of the equation, I think there are many lessons which the Australia justice system could learn from the Indonesian justice system. Harsh but fair penalties for illegal activities is something which I believe the Indonesian justice system carries out very well. If judges here took a harder stand on things, perhaps we would have less criminal activity.
Of course many other factors need to be taken into account when considering what would lower our crime rates. More police visibly on patrol is one such factor, and I must congratulate the ACT branch of the Australian Federal Police as I saw yesterday, for the first time in a very long time, two police officers actively on foot patrol through my suburb of Reid.
Illegal activities often stem from an addiction to illegal drugs, and a need to steal in order to finance the acquisition of said drugs. It is my firm opinion that the way to counter this situation is to retain the hard stance on drug smuggling and dealing, but to also have a government funded drug addiction reduction program, where drug users are required by law, to receive their drugs from the government, and from the government alone, as part of a supervised program to wean them off the drugs. Whether this would require specialised institutions or not is something which I haven’t quite worked out, although I think this would work best on a merit system, where drugs addicts are free to remain in the outside world as long as they follow the rules, but are placed in a drug rehabilitation institution if they violate the rules.
Certainly this would require a lot of funding initially, however the long term reduction in drug use, crime, and the associated burdens they place on society as a whole, would be well worth the effort and funding. After all, if we didn’t need to spend all this money on court proceedings for drug related offences, we would have an awful lot more public money available for essential services such as health care and schools.