Senate Committee report into “justice reinvestment” as a means of combating Australia’s growing imprisonment rates

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.

A copy of the Committee’s report is available here.

A copy of the HRLC’s submission to the inquiry, which focuses on how a human rights framework supports the adoption of a justice reinvestment approach, is available here.