There have been many well-meaning ‘community-led’ initiatives that government has funded over the years to address issues in indigenous communities – but for justice reinvestment to really address the over incarceration of Aboriginal people it must truly be community-led, or it just won’t work.
POLICY & IMPACT
In order to bring about long-term systemic change, our agenda is to bring community voices and community-led solutions to disrupt the pipeline to prison by advocating for early intervention, prevention and diversion from the criminal justice system, and for further reform in the system. By getting our agenda accepted by all political stakeholders this will reduce the number of Aboriginal people encountering the criminal justice system and increase the transfer of resources and power into community’s hands. We:
- Amplify community voices and support community to develop solutions.
- Build relationships with key federal and state government officials and public servants who do and may influence justice and Indigenous affairs laws and policy.
- Raise Awareness of Justice Reinvestment and educate government leaders and public servants to build and strengthen support for community-led solutions and drive collaboration and reform.
- Grow and strengthen partnerships, networks and alliances to test and deliver the JR NSW policy agenda.
A JUSTICE REINVESTMENT FRAMEWORK FOR NSW
Justice reinvestment is communities having authority over data, resources, partnerships and being place basd and community led.
This calls for:
- Funding to support community-led justice reinvestment initiatives.
- Implementation of policy and legislative reforms to reduce Aboriginal people’s interactions with the criminal justice system and free up resources for justice reinvestment.
- A ‘reinvestment’ funding model that provides long-term funding for community-led solutions and resource transfer away from systems that harm to Aboriginal communities.
DEVELOPING A MECHANISM FOR ‘REINVESTMENT’
In November 2022, Just Reinvest NSW (JR NSW) released a new report: ‘Redefining Reinvestment – An Opportunity for Aboriginal communities and government to co-design justice reinvestment in NSW’. The report outlines how Aboriginal communities are reaching out to the NSW Government to co-design “reinvestment” and to take the next steps to implement a justice reinvestment mechanism.
The report, which was discussed at the Reinvestment Forum held by JR NSW in 2022, provided for the first time the opportunity that justice reinvestment could be defined, and its possible implementation discussed. See the report at the bottom of page.
Imagine you are a 12 year old Aboriginal young person caught up in a “circuit of offending”.
You may find justice reinvestment to be the circuit-breaker you need.
Do you know a local group that identifies local solutions, and at the same time works on changing policies and legislation that effect you.
Reform is informed by data at every stage. See the graphic below that shows the JR model of a justice circuit-breaker:
DATA Driven Approach
Framed by Indigenous Data Sovereignty Principles (IDS) and Indigenous Data Governance (IDG) Principles, JR NSW takes a data driven approach as one of its core principles.
Data is storytelling, truth-telling and power. Collecting and using stories, truth and power supports communities to see what needs to change and how to change it. This is self-determination. Placing the authority in the hands of the community. Data from government generally measures what is being funded, it’s impact and specific social indicators to be addressed by government departments. It can tell us what is going on more broadly.Ashlee Wone, Director of Policy & Impact, JR NSW
Working with data is one of the key elements of JR, as an important tool for identifying JR goals and measuring outcomes. Determining what type of data is relevant to evaluating progress is challenging and has serious implications for service delivery and financing. However, Aboriginal communities have difficulties in accessing government data to inform their JR work.
When Aboriginal communities are involved in how and what data will be used to define goals and measure progress, they will have a sense of ownership of their work with JR. Community-owned monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) frameworks provide a structured approach to guide this work, and locally-defined indicators can engage government in the same community-guided goals, outcomes, and measurement processes. In the absence of this, important cultural and community perspectives are denied in government ways of working.
Data from community showcases experience of people in that community. It can tell us why something is happening and how it affects individuals and community groups. Communities need both to design and drive community-led solutions.Ashlee Wone, Director of Policy & Impact, JR NSW
Indigenous Data Sovereignty
JR NSW is committed to the following Indigenous Data Soveriegnty principles:
- Local protocols and principles
- Prioritising Indigenous voices
- Building capacity
- Inclusiveness and diversity
- Accountability to First Nations
Just Reinvest NSW uses impact reports to measure and communicate the social, environmental and economic impacts Justice Reinvestment initiatives and approaches have on reducing the number of Aboriginal people coming into contact with the criminal justice system in NSW. They also demonstrate the return on investment for funders and a cost benefit analysis for governments to shift power and resources into the hands of community to drive locally-led solutions.
The JR NSW report, “Redefining Reinvestment – An opportunity for Aboriginal communities and government to co-design justice reinvestment (JR) in NSW” is a landmark report based on research with Aboriginal communities in Bourke, Moree and Mt Druitt. It conveys their experiences of the criminal justice system and captures their perspectives on ‘reinvestment’ in NSW. The Report invited governments to commence a process of co-design, led by those Aboriginal communities where local solutions are already being explored.
JR NSW policy position papers are regularly researched and developed as part of its monitoring, evaluation and learing processes including the lived experience of Aboriginal communities in Bourke, Moree, Mt Druitt and Kempsey.