Reconciliation Australia reaffirms the urgent need for justice investment, and community-led, collaborative initiatives, in tackling the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system.

“As last night’s Four Corners program showed, justice reinvestment is the smarter approach to building stronger communities, particularly for young people,” said Justin Mohamed, CEO of Reconciliation Australia. “What we see in Bourke can act as a model for the expansion of justice reinvestment across Australia.”

In Australia today, rates of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and young people are at crisis levels. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are now 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous people. Despite making up only 5 per cent of the population aged 10 to 17, more than half of the young people in jail are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths.

Justice reinvestment improves the lives of young people through early intervention, prevention and diversion are smarter solutions that increase public safety, and build stronger, healthier communities.

Reconciliation Australia joins with Just Reinvest NSW, the Change the Record coalition, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and others in reaffirming the urgent need for sustained investment in communities, and a national, long-term approach to justice reinvestment, to lessen the disproportionate rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration across Australia.

“What we see in Bourke demonstrates that justice reinvestment works,” said Mr. Mohamed. “When decisions are in the hands of local Aboriginal communities, success follows.”

“Local Aboriginal leaders identified these concerns within the communities, and devised interventions to address these issues, in collaboration with local community groups, government and law enforcement agencies,” Mr. Mohamed added. “It’s clear that acting in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities leads to better outcomes.”

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