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Backing Bourke, Four Corners

The Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project featured on ABC Four Corners. ‘BACKING BOURKE‘ explores the first major justice reinvestment trial in Australia and asks the question, is this the way forward? Click here to watch.

Watch the promo here:

The Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project is a demonstration of how justice reinvestment can work in Australia and its appearance on Four Corners provides a timely opportunity to raise awareness of the advantages of a justice reinvestment approach.

We hope that you watch Four Corners on Monday and encourage others to as well.

If you would like to help promote Just Reinvest NSW and justice reinvestment, online and through your networks we have some resources to help you.

The Supporter Kit includes:

  • An email you can send to your networks
  • Suggested social media posts
  • A draft newsletter copy you can adapt for publication
  • A brief news story for a website

You can also find a link to a Fact Sheet, as well as a Q&A.

This is an exciting opportunity to capture the nations attention and we encourage you to adapt and share this content as broadly as possible.

Just Reinvest will continue to work with the Bourke community to demonstrate that a community driven, collaborative approach to justice reinvestment offers a real solution for Australian communities seeking to tackle problems around offending and incarceration, while creating alternate pathways for young people.

We hope you take the time to watch the Four Corners on the Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project Bourke and use this opportunity to raise awareness of the advantages of justice reinvestment.


Backing Bourke: An outback town’s bold experiment to save its young people from a life of crime – ABC.

It's the little town that symbolises life in the outback, immortalised by Henry Lawson who declared: "If you know Bourke, you know Australia".
But this famous bush town has one of the worst crime rates in Australia.
"If you went to any prison or juvenile justice centre in this state, you'll find one of our families there." Phil, Tribal Elder
With startling rates of domestic violence, assault and property crime, too many of Bourke's residents end up in jail.
Fed up with losing their young to prison, the indigenous people of Bourke have decided to take a risk on a bold experiment to try and turn their town around.
"I just certainly felt that I had something to offer and to contribute to ensure that particularly young people don't make the same mistakes." Alistair, Community Leader
It's based on a groundbreaking American approach called Justice Reinvestment that tries to prevent crime through simple targeted programs.
"It's really about spending more on communities and less on prisons, so it involves working out ways that you can shift resources out of the prison system." Sarah, Just Reinvest
It's been so successful that in places like Texas, the state has actually been closing prisons down.
But can this same idea work in outback Australia?
"We want to have (the) opportunity to say well all right, here is another way to do it... let us have a go at it." Phil, Tribal Elder
Backed by wealthy philanthropists, not government, the community is putting the theory to the test with practical ideas, like offering free driving lessons. It's diverting people from jail time as driving without a license is a chronic problem in the outback.
"It's in everyone's interests to keep kids out of institutions and get them back on track. That's ultimately what we're all here for..." Police Officer
And it's also trying to change attitudes, prompting the men of Bourke to take a long hard look at themselves and stand up as leaders.
"I've had my ups and downs and I've done things I regret. But I need to be accountable for my own actions and the challenges I have as a man." Steve
Two months after the landmark Four Corners program Australia's Shame exposed the scandalous treatment of juvenile offenders, Backing Bourke provides a glimmer of hope for communities around Australia that are struggling to break the cycle of youth crime.
"The work that's being carried out in Bourke...it's becoming a catalyst for the rest of the nation." Alistair, Community Leader
Backing Bourke, reported by Geoff Thompson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 19th September at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 20th September at 10.00am and Wednesday 21st at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.