$1.35m in Justice Reinvestment funding to help address Indigenous incarceration rates

Released 17/10/2019

Aboriginal organisations will be provided with $1.35 million over three years to deliver culturally-appropriate support, as the ACT looks to further its Justice Reinvestment efforts to help address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the justice system.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise 1.9% of the ACT population but currently make up 22% of the ACT's prison population.

The ACT Government is working together with Tjillari Justice Aboriginal Corporation, Yeddung Mara and the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) to deliver the suite of culturally appropriate programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders, detainees, and ex-detainees.

The programs include:

  • Front Up: a support program to assist people who have an outstanding warrant, have breached bail or breached a community-based sentence to present to court and negotiate on their behalf to have the matter brought before court
  • Circle Sentencing Court Support: a specialist program to provide support to those with matters before the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court
  • Throughcare Support: a client-centred program designed to enable people to succeed on their journey from prison to living back in the community
  • Yarning Circles for Justice: a series of 26-week programs that use co-designed activities to support ex-detainees in a group setting to stay in the community and rebuild their lives – rather than return to prison.

Comments attributable to Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury:

"The Government is committed to justice reinvestment as a way forward in addressing these very real concerns in relation to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our criminal justice system.

Justice reinvestment seeks to make the ACT a community that arrests vulnerability, not just individuals, and addresses the root causes of offending. With the right supports in place, we can help change the trajectories of those coming in and out of the prison system.

Justice reinvestment also acknowledges that some members of our community are significantly more likely to be incarcerated. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately represented across the justice system. This is often compounded by social economic issues, combined with the effects of intergenerational trauma, disenfranchisement, colonisation and structural racism.

Only by listening to, and working collaboratively together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, can we comprehensively address the troubling over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system.

This work is further strengthened by our commitments in the Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement, to reduce recidivism by 25 per cent by 2025."

- Statement ends -

Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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