Pathways to Justice–Inquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples  Report by Australian Law Reform Commission (tabled March 2018)

The report provides a clear direction towards fairer justice systems around the country. There are a number of specific recommendations for concrete actions that the Federal Government can take to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system. These include:
• the establishment of a national justice reinvestment body and supporting justice reinvestment trials around the country; and
• developing national criminal justice targets.

ALRC recommends that all levels of government: “…promote justice reinvestment through redirection of resources from incarceration to prevention, rehabilitation and support, in order to reduce re-offending and the long-term economic cost of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.” Specifically recommendations 4.1 and 4.2 relate to justice reinvestment.

Recommendation 4.1 Commonwealth, state and territory governments should provide support for the establishment of an independent justice reinvestment body. The purpose of the body should be to promote the reinvestment of resources from the criminal justice system to community-led, place-based initiatives that address the drivers of crime and incarceration, and to provide expertise on the implementation of justice reinvestment. Its functions should include: 

  • providing technical expertise in relation to justice reinvestment; 
  • assisting in developing justice reinvestment plans in local sites; and 
  • maintaining a database of evidence-based justice reinvestment strategies. The justice reinvestment body should be overseen by a board with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership. 

 Recommendation 4.2 Commonwealth, state and territory governments should support justice reinvestment trials initiated in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including through: 

  • facilitating access to localised data related to criminal justice and other relevant government service provision, and associated costs; 
  • supporting local justice reinvestment initiatives; and 
  • facilitating participation by, and coordination between, relevant government departments and agencies.

Cost effectiveness analysis of a ‘justice reinvestment’ approach to Queensland’s youth justice services