The Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology is saddened to hear of the passing of David Biles.

David Biles made a significant contribution to criminology in Australia. Among his many achievements, David was a well-known academic at the University of Melbourne before joining the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), where he was the Deputy Director for many years.

During this time at the AIC, David wrote extensively on a range of subjects, most notably on corrections. He was also seconded to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody as Head of Research, which clearly influences the work of the AIC, through the National Deaths in Custody Program, to this day.

David was the foundation secretary of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology and the president of the Society in the early 1980s. He was awarded the Society's Distinguished Criminologist award in 2014.


David Biles' columns in the Canberra Times

Dr David Biles was one of Australia’s most celebrated criminologists. He has been, for many years, a contributor to the Canberra Times on matters of criminology and criminal justice. With his permission and the kind permission of the Canberra Times, we include below a link to these contributions. We note that the views expressed by Dr Biles are not intended to bind ANZSOC to any particular position on the issues he raises. We thank him for making these columns available to a wider audience.

Note on David Biles

Image 5 MediumDavid Biles was an internationally recognised criminologist with degrees in psychology, education and sociology. His earlier positions have included: Deputy Director, Australian Institute of Criminology in Canberra; Head of Research, Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody; and Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Melbourne. He has also worked as an Education Officer in Victorian prisons for a period of 11 years. More recently he worked as Professorial Associate in corrections at Charles Sturt University.

He was the foundation Honorary Secretary of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, and served as President from 1979 to 1983. In 2003 David was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) “for service to criminology, as an educator, researcher and adviser,” and in 2004 he was awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of the University by Charles Sturt University. In 2014, David was a joint recipient of the ANZSOC Distinguished Criminologist Award. 

Originally published in The Canberra Times 2017

More punishment won't 'fix' the sorry state of juvenille justice in Australia

The escape of 15 offenders from the Malmsbury youth detention centre in Victoria last month is the most recent, and perhaps the most serious, failure in a long series of related problems in that state. (Originally published in the Canberra Times February 10, 2017)

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Originally published in The Canberra Times 2016

Canberra is not ready for a private prison - yet

Agree with him or not, but the determination of former chief minister Hon Stanhope to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Alexander Maconochie Centre is admirable. (Originaly published in the Canberra Times December 28, 2016)

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Insitute of Criminology sacrificed on altar of bureaucracy

Since its foundation in 1973, the Australian Institute of Criminology has acquired a national and international reputation for its high-quality research and for its focus on policy-related issues. (Originally published in the Canberra Times November 21, 2016)

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Let’s not over-react to the escape of two prisoners from Canberra jail

The recent escape of Patrick McCurley and Jacob MacDonald from the Alexander Maconochie Centre, came as a shock as prison escapes do not seem to be as common these days as they were a decade or more ago.  (Originally published in the Canberra Times September 13, 2016)

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Plenty of myths and half-truths about black deaths in custody

It is now 25 years since the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was tabled in the Federal Parliament, and this has prompted many people to comment on what is seen as the success or failure of the inquiry. (Originally published in the Canberra Times May 1, 2016)

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Community corrections changes could reduce prisoner number increase

I was pleasantly surprised a couple of weeks ago to receive a message from a senior academic at the Australian National University suggesting that he and some of his colleagues would like to have my views on the use of community service orders in the ACT. (Originally published in the Canberra Times March 9, 2016)

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Originally published in The Canberra Times 2015

Justice reinvestment a great idea that does not work

I genuinely hold Jon Stanhope in high regard, and it gives me no pleasure to find fault with one of his recent public statements. He said "It's a sign of failure to continue to build cells or add cells, it's a sign that a justice reinvestment philosophy hasn't permeated and isn't being delivered." In my opinion justice reinvestment is just the most recently developed idea for making the criminal justice more effective by diverting some funds.. (Originally published in the Canberra Times December 28, 2015)

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It’s time for all police pursuits to be stopped, or at least seriously limited

It is not suggested that police pursuits "caused" the crashes and therefore the fatalities, but it seems reasonable to assume that they "contributed" to the tragic outcomes. (Originally published in the Canberra Times September 14, 2015)

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Banning smoking in Australian prisons has become a nationwide issue

Just over a year ago an opinion piece of mine was published in this journal under the title "Banning smoking in Australia's jails is a tough call, but worth a try". (Originally published in the Canberra Times August 30, 2015)

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A fifth judge in the ACT Supreme Court could reduce problems at the jail

The announcement of a fifth judge on the ACT Supreme Court has the potential to do much more than help out the court. (Originally published in the Canberra Times June 12, 2015)

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Sukumaran and Chan: There is still a chance they may not be executed

Indonesia is set to go ahead with the execution of two Australians for drug-smuggling. (Originally published in the Canberra Times February 26, 2015)

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