Justice Reinvestment - Lets rethink imprisonment

JUSTICE REINVESTMENT – LET’S RETHINK IMPRISONMENT

Did you know?

An Aboriginal Child is currently more likely to go to jail than to finish high school. 

Indigenous people account for 3.6% (155,824 Indigenous persons) of the Queensland population but Indigenous women make up for 27.1% of prison population, and Indigenous men make up 30% of prison populations.

Indigenous Australians also account for a significant portion of victims of crimes, including 12% of all victims of assault and 11% of all victims of sexual assault

What is Justice Reinvestment?

Would you rather your taxpayer money go towards keeping a child in prison, or providing that child with a secure environment to learn, prosper and experience success?

Adult incarceration is extremely costly at $318 per day per person in jail and is proven to be extremely ineffective at deterring recidivism. The Australian Government spends about $236 million every year to keep young Indigenous offenders locked up in youth detention centers, where they comprise 54% of the detention population and even higher than this in Queensland, comprising 64% of the detention population.

Justice Reinvestment highlights the potential of these funds to be invested in Aboriginal communities in order to prevent youth and adult involvement in the justice system.

Education and employment programs, providing support to vulnerable & neglected youths, tackling drug & alcohol abuse and supplying mental health care services are just some of the measures that can be extremely effective in preventing youth involvement in crime. 

Why ANTaR?

In 2001 the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Agreement promised to reduce imprisonment rates in Queensland by 50% by 2011. As the ten-year period of the Agreement draws to a close, imprisonment rates in Queensland have worsened rather than improved.

Campbell Newman’s 2014 changes to the Youth Justice Act 1992 including the removal of detention of a child as a last resort and the reduction of sentencing options of judges for youth offenders. The Labor Government is currently in the process of removing these changes to focus on prevention, early intervention and rehabilitation rather than incarceration – a step in the right direction.

ANTaR continues to campaign for Justice Reinvestment to be a focus of the Queensland Government within Aboriginal communities and you can see our submissions on the topic below. We also continue to engage the local MPs by informing them of what needs to be done to achieve Justice Reinvestment.

Find out more…

ANTaR’s submission to the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 to encourage the proposed changes by the Labor Government:

          http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/committees/LACSC/2015/11-YouthJusticeAOLAB15/submissions/024.pdf

Project 10% held a forum focusing on the views of Indigenous Australians surrounding Justice Reinvestment. Reinvestment mechanisms must come from within the community and this resource is an important reminder of this:

 http://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=6406e068-f27a-41c3-9ac9-28dc7484f186

Further statistics on the problems Indigenous Australians youth face can be found on this link:

          http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/youth-justice/

A report on the high chance of children in Child Protective Services entering into    the Criminal Justice System – a disturbing, but unsurprising finding:

          http://www.aihw.gov.au/media-release-detail/?id=60129554601

Just Reinvest Roundtable on Legislative and Policy Reform to Reduce the NSW Prison Population

Just Reinvest NSW held a roundtable discussion with leading figures from the NSW legal and justice communities to develop a set of strategic proposals for legislative and policy reform to reduce the rising prison population in NSW, with a particular view to addressing the levels of Aboriginal overrepresentation.

With the NSW Government’s announcement that it will spend 3.8billion dollars on 7000 new prison beds, there is much urgency around the issue.

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The roundtable was attended by more than 20 delegates, with representatives from the judiciary, the Law Society of NSW, the NSW Bar Association, the Law Council of Australia, the Australian Bar Association, the NSW Legal Aid Commission and the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT, amongst others. Just Reinvest is aiming to develop a shared position of the peak legal bodies who participated and present the proposals to the NSW Government as a set of practical measures that will reduce the prison population, target recidivism, reduce crime, create safer communities and save money.

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To develop these proposals, Just Reinvest NSW is collaborating with the Nous Group to determine the highest order opportunities and how best to actualise their implementation.

The discussion started on the basis of key opportunities for legislative and policy reform that have been proposed in recent years to reduce the prison population in NSW. Changing the current parole legislation was of particular interest to all participants, as was providing equal access to diversion, sentencing alternatives, rehabilitation and throughcare. The afternoon was full of dynamic discussion and problem solving.

Just Reinvest NSW will engage key individuals in the NSW Government, Aboriginal peak bodies, key organisations and advocacy groups with the shared position and proposals in the policy paper.

The proposals will then be the subject of a parliamentary forum, bringing all sides of government together early in 2017 to discuss how and why these proposals should be implemented.

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November 2016

For further information - http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=8e35b5fd275f03352fa4118f4&id=965638deb6&e=5dc2f63f3d