Value of a justice reinvestment approach to criminal justice in Australia: Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
This submission focuses on the need to ensure the diversion of people who are homeless, those with a mental illness or cognitive disability, and Indigenous people out of the criminal justice system. Where such diversion has not occurred, PIAC believes that sentencing options should be focused on addressing the underlying causes of criminal activity. PIAC is strongly supportive of approaches to criminal offending that involve elements of diversion and deferral. PIAC considers that there is a public interest in reducing recidivism and supports ‘justice reinvestment’ approaches that move funds away from more expensive, end-of-process crime control options, such as incarceration, towards programs that target the factors that cause offenders to commit crime. This reinvestment should take place both within and external to the criminal justice system. However, it is imperative that community service organisations, which generally are the core service providers of such programs, are adequately resourced. There is also a need for specially tailored services to meet the complex needs of people with mental illness and intellectual disability. For this reason, PIAC considers that it is important that treatment and care under diversionary programs take a multi-disciplinary and multi-stranded approach.