Justice Reinvestment

Over the last 30 years, the number of people in Australian prisons has tripled to around 30,000. This places a massive $3 billion cost-burden on Australian taxpayers every year.

In reality, the real price of prison is much higher. Offending and imprisonment have enormous social costs for victims and offenders, their families and their communities.

We can be smarter with the way we spend this money, by investing in stronger communities.

It’s also the way we can bring down the shameful rates of indigenous incarceration in Australia. Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are less than three per cent of the population, they make up more than a quarter of all those in jail. And for young people it’s even worse.

Justice Reinvestment is a new but proven approach to criminal justice spending. The success of Justice Reinvestment in the United States has shown it is possible to have both fewer people in prison and less crime.

The Greens want to see Justice Reinvestment adopted here in Australia too. Our senate inquiry recommended the Federal Government take action now.

We've created a plan to establish a National Centre for Justice Reinvestment and fund pilot programs. You can read the full plan here. 

Justice Reinvestment can:

• reduce crime and improve public safety,
• strengthen communities, and
• save money.

Win, Win, Win.

Justice Reinvestment - What is it?

Rather than spending more and more money warehousing offenders after their crimes have been committed, the focus of Justice Reinvestment is strengthening communities to prevent crime from happening in the first place.

Many offenders come from, and return to, a small number of disadvantaged communities. Justice Reinvestment shifts some of the money allocated for future imprisonment to these high-needs communities to fund programs which address the underlying causes of crime.

Justice Reinvestment is not a one size fits all approach. It combines rigorous data analysis and community input to develop practical policies that really address a community’s needs and the underlying causes of crime.

What Justice Reinvestment is NOT

Justice Reinvestment is not about getting rid of prisons all together. Prisons will always be needed to protect the community from serious and dangerous offenders. It sits alongside in-prison programs and does not replace them. Providing appropriate levels of treatment, education and vocational training is essential to break the cycle of re-offending.

Time for new thinking in Australia

It is definitely time to embrace targeted and evidence-based solutions to crime that will make our communities safer now and in the future. The Federal Government has a significant role to play in driving reform across every state and territory.

You can download our factsheet on Justice Reinvestment here:

2012 justice reinvestment fact sheet - a four step process (pdf)
2012 justice reinvestment infographic (pdf)

Latest on Justice Reinvestment

media-releases

Abbott's cruel cuts will raise indigenous prison rates

17 Dec 2013

More Aboriginal Australians will end up in jail because of the Abbott Government's cuts to indigenous legal aid, say the Australian Greens.

speeches-in-parliament

Changing the story of indigenous incarceration

04 Dec 2013

Senator Penny Wright says Australia can change the shameful story of over-incarceration of Aboriginal youth by adopting Justice Reinvestment.

media-releases

New approach needed as Aboriginal prison population rises

21 Nov 2013

The number of Aboriginal people in jail will continue to rise if cuts to indigenous legal aid go ahead, says Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright.

media-releases

Indigenous legal aid cuts must not go ahead

19 Nov 2013

Prime Minister Tony Abbott must urgently clarify if he intends to reverse his party's election promise to make multi-million dollar cuts to indigenous legal aid, say the Australian Greens.

estimates

Estimates: Data related to incarceration rates

18 Nov 2013

Senator Penny Wright ask questions about the availability of data related to Australian incarceration rates 

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