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A new report by Deloitte Access Economics highlights the cost and health benefits of diversionary programs and community residential rehabilitation for Indigenous peoples who have been convicted of non-violent, substance use related offences.
Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda welcomed the release of the report which estimates that state governments may be able to save more than $110,000 per person if courts diverted non-violent Aboriginal offenders into drug and alcohol treatment instead of sending them to jail.
‘This report shows the great benefits, both financial and otherwise, of taking a justice reinvestment approach. This is not a soft on crime approach. It is about addressing the underlying issues which contribute to offending, such as drug and alcohol dependency,' said the Social Justice Commissioner.
The report prepared for the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee confirms that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are over-represented in jail and examines avenues to address this over-representation.
This report adds further weight to the overwhelming body of evidence identifying justice reinvestment as an appropriate response to disturbingly high incarceration rates. Commissioner Gooda said, ‘It is evident that the current system is not working and we clearly need to use a different method to deal with this issue.'
Source: Australian Human Rights Commission and The West Australian
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