Posted on 17 April 2013

Congress has called for all Australian governments to commit to Justice Reinvestment to stop the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the justice system.

Congress will tell a Senate Inquiry today that the strength of Justice Reinvestment is its localised approach to fit the needs and situation of each community.

“Justice Reinvestment presents a unique opportunity to have Aboriginal communities involved at every step of the way in identifying and implementing solutions to deal with overrepresentation within our own communities,” said Congress Co-Chair Jody Broun.

“The local approach of Justice Reinvestment would be strengthened by the national implementation of Closing the Gap justice targets that Congress has previously called for – to halve the rates of incarceration for our Peoples and to halve the rate at which our Peoples report having experienced physical or threatened violence within the past 12 months,” she said.

Co-Chair Les Malezer said the Congress submission to the inquiry also details how Justice Reinvestment addresses both the cause and effect of Aboriginal peoples’ interaction with the justice system.

“It does not mean reduced police intervention and protection for victims of crime but using resources in a more efficient manner, which is crucial when it comes to dealing with violence against Aboriginal women and children.

“Top down approaches have never been successful or been owned by communities, solutions that make the most of the strengths and knowledge within our communities have a much greater chance of success,” he said.

Congress Director and Justice Working Group Convenor, Tammy Solonec will present the Congress submission to the Senate Inquiry into the value of justice reinvestment approach to criminal justice in Australia in Perth today.

Ms Solonec said the four key points of Congress’s submission are backed by Congress members and delegates through the Justice Working group.

“The Congress submission calls for a commitment to Justice Reinvestment by the Federal and all State and Territory Governments; the establishment of a national approach to data collection on justice indicators; and for funding and operational support for analysis and implementation of community-led Justice Reinvestment programs in targeted communities,” she said.

Read the full Congress submission here