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A concept known as 'justice reinvestment' is gaining momentum as a means of reducing Indigenous imprisonment rates. The concept was touted by former Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma in his annual report in 2009.
Soaring imprisonment rates and a massive over-representation of indigenous people in jail costs Australia hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The school of thinking behind justice reinvestment holds that this money may be better used on prevention, rather than punishment.
Justice reinvestment involves the reallocation of resources currently spent on prisons to community-based projects targeted at the causes of criminal behaviour. It is data and demographically driven by analysing the social demographics of groups of offenders and funding targeted programs to address specific shortcomings. The types of programs contemplated include directing funds to early childhood education in vulnerable communities, targeting health and job creation.
The Australian Human Rights Commission has endorsed the concept. Recently, a forum was held at Parliament House, convened by Senator Penny Wright, that explored the topic of justice reinvestment in Australia.
Source: Adelaide Now and SBS