Building Communities, Not Prisons: Justice Reinvestment and Indigenous Over-Representation
AILR, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2010
16 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2012
Date Written: 2010
The Australian prison estate has failed to reduce offending or to make people feel safer, despite the nearly $3 billion spent on the prison system in Australia every year. Justice reinvestment is an emerging approach to over-imprisonment that diverts a proportion of corrections budgets to communities within the jurisdiction that have high rates of offending, giving those communities the capacity to invest in programs that will reduce criminal behavior and the rate of recidivism. This article examines the take-up of the justice reinvestment approach in the US and UK, and analyzes the potential of the approach to be used effectively in the Indigenous context in Australia. In doing so, it discusses the aspects of justice reinvestment that distinguish it from other ‘decarceration’ initiatives and identifies the ways in which the approach is suited both to articulated policy aims in relation to Indigenous people, and to the particular circumstances of Indigenous communities. It argues that justice reinvestment principles cohere well with the needs of Indigenous communities and with the current financial climate – and that the combination of these factors make it an approach worth pursuing in Australia, particularly in the Indigenous context.
Keywords: Iimprisonment, Australia, indigenous, criminal justice
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