The following ‘Letter to the Editor’ by Pamela Nathan was published in ‘The Age’ on Friday 11 September 2015. It related to the article, ‘Killer had been ranked as having high chance of reoffending by parole officer’, by Adam Cooper, published in ‘The Age’, 8 September 2015
Pamela’s letter relates to the high likelihood of perpetrators of violent crimes reoffending.
It is unfathomable that Corrections Victoria does not consider the specific history of a criminal always relevant – “whether indeed it is for murder or shoplifting”, to quote deputy commissioner Rod Wise (“Killer was ranked as high reoffence risk by parole officer”, 9/9). There are always (past) patterns to criminal behaviour and triggers. There are always clues in the dynamics of the internal world. There is always an internal crime scene. There are always subjective meanings to a crime. There are always clues in the emotional responses. It is almost a truism but if a crime has happened once, it is likely to happen again, even if it is 10 years on – things unresolved tend to get repeated.
The offender programs in the prisons, unless things have changed, do not specifically cater for men who have committed sexual homicide and they do not assess for or treat the internal crime scene. How many more young women, daughters and wives, need to be murdered before we ask the question posed by Sherlock Holmes: “What is the meaning of it, Watson? What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear?”
Pamela Nathan, forensic psychologist, Kew