: Justice reinvestment and growing 
imprisonment rates

Justice reinvestment and growing 
imprisonment rates

Ben Schokman
Human Rights

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee has released a report on the value of a justice reinvestment approach to criminal justice in Australia. The concept of ‘justice reinvestment’ involves redirecting government money spent on prisons towards initiatives aimed at addressing the underlying social and economic determinants of crime.

The Committee’s report investigates the drivers behind the growth in Australia’s imprisonment rates, the social and economic costs and consequences of imprisonment, and the benefits of a justice reinvestment approach to address these issues. The report also considers the over-representation of disadvantaged groups in Australian prisons, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people experiencing mental ill-health.

The majority report of the Committee makes a series of recommendations on the role that can be played by the Commonwealth government in promoting a justice reinvestment approach in Australia. These recommendations include ensuring long term sustainable funding, the identification of relevant data required, a trial using a place-based approach, and the establishment of an independent central body to play a coordinating role among states and territories.

BEN SCHOKMAN, Human Rights Law Centre, Melbourne.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 191
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