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Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Page: 5450

Attorney-General: Justice Reinvestment

(Question No. 691)


Senator Ludlam asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 15 June 2011:

(1) Has the department undertaken any research or analysis of international experiences, both government and non-government led, with justice reinvestment: if so, can the findings of any such research or analysis be provided.

(2) Has the department been in further contact with the Aboriginal Legal Service on the issue of justice reinvestment.

(3) Has the department analysed the successful pilot study in Newcastle that reduced re-offending to a minimum.

(4) Has the department any plans for further pilot studies in areas with high incarceration rates.


Senator Ludwig: The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator ' s question:

The Department has undertaken some research and analysis of international experiences with justice reinvestment. The Attached Background Paper summarises that work.

The Department received a request from the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) in July 2010 to sponsor a documentary on justice reinvestment. The Department did not have resources available to commit to the project, and has not been in further contact with ALSWA or any other Aboriginal Legal Services on the issue of justice reinvestment.

The Department is aware of a multi-systemic therapy program in NSW (the Intensive Supervision Program) which has been piloted in Western Sydney and Newcastle. While some initial positive results have been reported in the media, the Department understands that program has not been subject to an outcomes evaluation to establish overall impacts on re-offending. The Department intends to monitor the program closely.

The Department has commissioned evaluations of twenty Indigenous justice programs which are consistent with justice reinvestment approaches. The evaluations are reviewing a range of programs designed to reduce Indigenous rates of offending, incarceration and recidivism, particularly amongst youth and perpetrators of violent crime. An additional project to evaluate the effectiveness of six drug and alcohol programs aimed at Indigenous offenders or those at risk of offending will commence over the next few months. The evaluations are occurring under the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework, and the findings will form a vital base which can inform the development of initiatives across Australia that draw on the justice reinvestment approach. Further information about the evaluations is available on the Department ' s website: www.ag.gov.au

The Department is also currently chairing a cross-jurisdictional working group to further investigate justice reinvestment / causes of crime in the Australian context. The group is scheduled to provide a report including options to National Justice Chief Executive Officers in November 2011.