Your say: Teachers should be educating prison inmates

The Black Lives Matter movement has exposed the divisions of racism globally. Here in NSW, in Australia, Indigenous people are incarcerated at a rate eight times greater than the general population, three times greater than the also uneven rate towards people of colour in the USA.

Several years ago the current Liberal government replaced teachers in gaols with trainers. This has had an impact on all inmates, and a disproportionate effect on Indigenous inmates, magnified by the greater rate of incarceration. Subsequent Annual Conferences and Councils have discussed regaining prison educators as a key strategic aim for the union, alongside restoring TAFE. With around 90 positions, the cut was not so much about money, but the divisive policies of this Liberal government. We should develop a strategy to renew the campaign to regain teachers as educators of prison inmates in NSW, and reverse a demise, as occurred with the cut of AMES (Adult Migrant English Service) many years ago.

As we are emerging from the COVID-19 restrictions, we should take heart from the fantastic win as to retaining the Powerhouse site at Ultimo — in large part due to ongoing CFMEU Green Bans — that direct action can defeat the NSW government, which is splintered by the crazy koala antics of the National Party minority.

John Morris is a memebr at Kogarah High School