Prison detox 

SUNRAYSIA lawyers have added their voices to the chorus of people championing for a “smarter” Victorian criminal justice system.

Yesterday, North West Law Association president Hugh Middleton said prisoners were being kept in cells at Mildura Police Station for up to three weeks.

He said in many cases, police were ill-equipped to deal with prisoners in what he deemed “de facto detox facilities”.

“It’s not the police’s job to assist people who may be withdrawing from drugs and who can be violent or confused,” Mr Middleton said.

“But that’s what is happening.”

Immediate past president of the Law Institute of Victoria Michael Holcroft said a new record was set yesterday, with 366 prisoners in police cells across the state.

“The Law Institute believes that 96 of those are sentenced prisoners,” Mr Holcroft, of Mildura law firm Holcroft Lawyers, said. “That leaves 270 people who have not been sentenced and are therefore on remand.

“In theory, some of these prisoners are innocent, but have not been bailed, with 149 people beyond the 14-day permitted holding limit.”

He said many prisoners had reached 20-plus consecutive days in Victorian police cells, while two Victorian prisoners had been in police cells for 32 consecutive days.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Friday's Sunraysia Daily 15-11-2013.

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