Change the Record
The Change the Record Campaign is a coalition of leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, community and human rights organisations referred to as the National Justice Coalition. It aims to close the gap on imprisonment rates and cut disproportionate rates of violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially women and children. Its two overarching goals are to:
- Close the gap in rates of imprisonment by 2040
- Cut the disproportionate rates of violence to at least close the gap by 2040 with priority strategies for women and children.
Its Smarter Justice, Safer Communities – Blueprint for Change calls on all levels of government to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to design and invest in holistic early intervention, prevention and diversion strategies.
These are smarter, evidence-based and more cost-effective solutions that increase safety, address the root causes of violence against women and children, cut re-offending and imprisonment rates, and build stronger communities.
The campaign has a number of key principles for reform:
- Invest in communities, not prisons
- Local communities have the answers
- Recognise the driving factors of imprisonment
- Focus on safety
- Services, not sentences
- Community policing, not policing the community
- Smarter sentencing
- Eliminate unnecessary imprisonment
- Adopt community justice approaches
- Young people don’t belong in prison
- Rehabilitation, not just punishment, and
- Reintegration not recidivism.
Just Reinvest NSW
Just Reinvest NSW is an independent, non-profit association, auspiced by the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd, which has been working since 2012 to reduce incarceration rates for Aboriginal children and young people.
More than 20 organisations are now actively engaged in Just Reinvest NSW as members or sponsors, with additional individuals and organisations providing in-kind or volunteer support.
In 2014 Just Reinvest NSW began implementing one of the first Justice Reinvestment trials in Australia in the small remote community of Bourke in north-west New South Wales. Two positions based in Bourke are assisted by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, the Dusseldorp Forum and St Vincent de Paul Society Foundation.
Watch ABC’s Four Corners report on the Bourke trial.
Find out more:
- Just Reinvest Policy Paper launch, Key Proposals #1 – Smarter Sentencing and Parole Law Reform details key proposals to reduce the rising prison population in NSW, particularly focusing on Aboriginal overrepresentation.
- The Just Reinvest NSW ‘s election policy document highlights the reasons why a justice reinvestment approach should be adopted by NSW’s criminal justice system and how this will make communities safer.
- The Breaking the Cycle article, published in the NSW Law Society Journal, examines the successes of Justice Reinvestment in Bourke, with a focus on the story of Keenan Mundine who has been able avoid prison as a result.
Community Is Everything
Researchers from Amnesty International Australia’s Community Is Everything campaign have been investigating Australia’s high rate of Indigenous youth incarceration.
Their report, A Brighter Tomorrow: Keeping Indigenous Kids In The Community and Out of Detention, details how the Australian Government can reduce the numbers of young Indigenous people incarcerated across the country.
The report calls for a justice reinvestment approach that includes both early intervention and community responses to address the underlying causes of crime and achieve long-term change.
Amnesty’s researchers have identified many brilliant Indigenous-led solutions to keep Indigenous kids in communities for a brighter tomorrow.
Some of the practical programs include drivers’ education to help young people avoid traffic offences and programs that allow young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reconnect with their community and country.
The report calls on Australia to comply with its international legal obligations and provide ongoing federal funding to these successful Indigenous-led initiatives.
Australian Red Cross has produced a 2016 Vulnerability Report titled Rethinking Justice that calls for a radical shift from all Australian governments to put justice reinvestment at the centre of justice policy, and redirect funds away from imprisonment and into community crime prevention.
The report highlights the inhumane effects of growing imprisonment rates and the failure of current approaches to reduce crime.
It highlights a number of justice reinvestment programs being adopted by local communities throughout Australia and examines what is required for the successful implementation of justice reinvestment schemes.