"This is a very welcome announcement from Labor. The deep-seated disadvantage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the justice system is one of the most challenging social issues in Australia today,” Save the Children CEO Paul Ronalds said.
“To think that a young Indigenous man is more likely to go to jail than to university in Australia is morally unconscionable, and it’s great to see serious efforts to address this issue.
“We are particularly pleased to see Labor’s commitment to funding for justice reinvestment, an approach to youth justice that shifts investment away from detention and into prevention and early intervention. We hope the Coalition will similarly extend its commitment to justice reinvestment demonstrated by recently announced funding.
“Save the Children has seen first-hand the dramatic impact this approach can have on young people’s lives, diverting them from the justice system and into positive endeavours like training, education and employment. It sets their lives onto a new, more positive course and saves millions of dollars of tax-payer money in the process.”
The Labor announcement includes $40 million over four years for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, almost $22 million over four years for justice reinvestment, as well as support for Aboriginal-controlled frontline services like refuges and safe houses and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.
Save the Children’s WA State Manager Juan Larranaga said the organisation’s Youth Partnership Project, running in Armadale and Gosnells in south eastern Perth, was a great example of justice reinvestment in action, and a program that could be replicated in other parts of the country.
“With this program we’ve taken the approach that if we get the right support to young people at-risk of entering the juvenile justice system at the right time in their lives, it will help them not only stay out of the justice system, but thrive in their communities,” Mr Larranaga said.
“We’ve also brought together a range of service providers to make sure we’re working in the most coordinated way, and ultimately having the greatest impact on young people’s lives. Having seen the effectiveness of the program in Armadale and Gosnells, now we would like to scale up and use this model other parts of Perth where there are high rates of youth crime, as well as places like the Kimberley, Kalgoorlie and other parts of Australia.”
Click here to view Save the Children’s ‘Closing the Gap Refresh’ policy submission (April 2018).
For media inquiries call Evan Schuurman on 0406 117 937.