The ACT Government today announced a new major justice reinvestment program, ‘Building Communities Not Prisons’. In response, Tammy Solonec, Indigenous Rights Manager at Amnesty International Australia, said:
“At every opportunity possible, governments should be choosing to focus on prevention and diversion, not building more prisons. By launching a major justice reinvestment program over building a new $200m prison, the ACT Government has signalled that they want safe and connected communities, not people behind bars.
“It is important that justice reinvestment programs have a whole-of-community approach with clear mechanisms to work with Indigenous organisations and communities. The ACT Government also has the opportunity to extend this program to children through the development of their Blueprint for Youth Justice, expected to be launched later this year. Raising the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years must also be part of the blueprint.
“We know that once kids are locked up, they easily become stuck in the quicksand of the justice system. Justice reinvestment keeps kids out of prison and in their communities.”
“We know that once kids are locked up, they easily become stuck in the quicksand of the justice system. Justice reinvestment keeps kids out of prison and in their communities.
“In New South Wales, the Maranguka Project, an Aboriginal community-led justice reinvestment program delivered a saving of almost $3m to the town of Bourke, and a 23% reduction in police-recorded incidents of domestic violence, and a 38% reduction in charges across the top five juvenile offence categories.
“Amnesty International calls on all governments to take notice of this very positive step forward by the ACT Government and to review their own commitments to justice reinvestment, including projects already underway.”