Last night’s 4 Corners program revealed the pernicious effect that high rates of crime and incarceration have on communities, and the critical role of justice reinvestment in supporting communities like Bourke to tackle crime, reduce rates of incarceration, and build safer and stronger communities.
Justice reinvestment focuses resources on community efforts in prevention and diversionary programs to address underlying causes of offending. This can include domestic violence prevention, sporting programs and community efforts to engage young people. Investment in drug and alcohol treatment, programs to ensure kids are in school, and services that tackle family violence and dysfunction can reduce crime and improve community safety.
Two years ago, the NSW town of Bourke topped the state in six of eight crime categories. Using the justice reinvestment model, police, courts, legal services, mental health experts and community groups in Bourke are now working together through the Maranguka Community Group to tackle the causes of crime and break the cycle of incarceration.
Justice reinvestment is helping the Bourke community and police to tackle contributing factors to crime – such as such as substance abuse, disengagement from school or work, and family breakdown.
This isn’t about being ‘soft’ on crime. It’s about being smart on crime, and breaking the vicious, persistent cycle of reoffending and incarceration.
At the last election, Labor proposed establishing three new launch sites to further explore the role of justice reinvestment in preventing crime and reducing incarceration. We also committed to resourcing a long-term study of the effectiveness of the project currently underway in Bourke, to see what other communities can learn from this initiative.
Labor calls on the Turnbull Government to urgently and seriously consider the justice reinvestment model for other disadvantaged communities in Australia.
Labor also repeats its call for the Government to implement justice targets under the Closing the Gap framework, to help tackle the crisis levels of Indigenous incarceration.
A young Indigenous man today is more likely to go to jail than university, and an Indigenous adult is 15 times more likely to be imprisoned than a non-Indigenous adult.
Business as usual will not work. If we continue with the same approach, we'll get the same results.
The Turnbull Government can’t keep ignoring the Indigenous incarceration crisis. It must start showing national leadership and confront this challenge.
TUESDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2016