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ALRC report recommends a justice reinvestment approach to over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

ALRC report recommends a justice reinvestment approach to over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Just Reinvest NSW has welcomed the tabling today of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report: Pathways to Justice–Inquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. In particular, the ALRC recommended that all levels of government:

promote justice reinvestment through redirection of resources from incarceration to prevention, rehabilitation and support, in order to reduce reoffending and the long-term economic cost of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 Just Reinvest NSW is an independent, non-profit organisation that partnered with the Bourke community to develop the Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project, the most advanced place-based justice reinvestment initiative in Australia.

 Just Reinvest NSW Chair Sarah Hopkins said: “Investing in prisons is investing in failure – focusing on locking people up doesn’t make sense economically or socially. Justice reinvestment projects are community-led, place-based and data-driven – this should be a critical part of policy and law reform.

“The answer to the problem of too many people in contact with the justice system won’t be found inside the justice system. We solve this by getting in front of the problem, focusing on the local solutions that strengthen communities and keep people from offending in the first place.

“It costs over $100,000 to lock someone up for a year. Analysis from the UK suggests that for every dollar invested in alternatives to incarceration, $14 worth of social value was produced for women, children, victims and society as a whole,” she said.

The Pathways to Justice report recommends:

  1. the establishment of an independent justice reinvestment body to promote the reinvestment of resources from the criminal justice system to local community development initiatives, to address the drivers of crime and incarceration, and to provide expertise in the methodology of justice reinvestment.
  2. government support for place-based justice reinvestment initiatives, through resourcing, facilitating access to data, and facilitating participation by and coordination between relevant government departments.

Former Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda said: “Justice reinvestment represents a shift away from governments and policy makers coming in and telling communities what is best for them. Through a justice reinvestment approach, the solutions come from and are implemented by the community.

“Governments can support these community-led, place-based initiatives not only by supporting further justice reinvestment trials, but also by making the necessary data available and establishing an independent justice reinvestment body.

“Just Reinvest NSW is calling on the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to implement all of the recommendations in the Pathways to Justice report, particularly those relating to justice reinvestment.

“With Australia’s most advanced justice reinvestment project being in Bourke, the NSW government now has the opportunity to take the lead, through the development of a state level justice reinvestment policy and independent body to support existing and future trials,” he said.

 For media enquiries contact Mark Riboldi on 0433 753 376

Just Reinvest NSW is a coalition of more than twenty organisations and individuals that have come together to address the significant over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody through a Justice Reinvestment framework.

In 2013, Just Reinvest NSW began a partnership with the Bourke Aboriginal community to implement the first major justice reinvestment trial in Australia, the Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project in Bourke.

28 March 2018

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