A smarter criminal justice system: The role of Community Legal Centres
What is needed is a responsible, informed discussion on crime prevention and control. … The consistent knee jerk or politically expedient response … is not in the interest of greater community safety.
This comment, from a 1992 report by the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria), still resonates today. The report, Who’s in Control? Victorian Police Expenditure critiqued a police push for increased powers and funding based on misleading police crime statistics.1 It examined police spending, new police powers to respond to claimed increases in serious knife assaults (which were proven false) and the media’s representations of violent crime. Twenty years on, the Federation and many Victorian community legal centres (‘CLCs’) are still promoting rational criminal justice policies, this time through the Smart Justice project.