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New sentencing regime keeping offenders out of prison
by Emily Smith
Stateline Western Australia, ABC-TV Translate This Article
14 December 2004
Earlier this month, Stateline Western Australia, ABC-TV reported that a Geraldton Magistrate is giving offenders a choice: jail or alternative rehabilitation programmes, including the Transcendental Meditation Programme. Both participants and law officers applaud the results of the new sentencing programme. It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring fulfilment to the fields of law, justice and rehabilitation.
During the interview, Magistrate Michael King told reporter Emily Smith that his alternative sentencing programme is offered only when a person can show good reason for a suspended jail term. In this case, the offender participates in an alternative programme for six months and then returns to court for a review. Alternative options include the Transcendental Meditation Programme, anger management, financial planning, and drug or alcohol rehabilitation.
When asked about the meditation element of the programme, King explained, 'TM is used as a means of reducing stress, and the research shows that it reduces recidivism - the rate of reoffending - by over 40 per cent. In our programme, we've found that it makes people more relaxed, more balanced in themselves, better able to engage with the programme overall. So it contributes to the effectiveness of each of the other rehabilitation programmes.'
The reporter noted that 'the meditation programme and the regime have attracted interest from the legal fraternity far and wide.' She explained that this type of alternative sentencing reflects a new trend in criminal law that looks at the personal issues that contribute to a crime. According to the Magistrate, 55 per cent of offenders who have participated in his programme have not committed further crimes. 'And this is a group that have chronic offending problems,' noted King.
Geraldton Police Superintendent Alland Gronow is a strong supporter of the programme. 'If you can turn one person around so that they don't end up in the justice system or incarcerated, then it's a winner,' emphasized the veteran police officer.
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