If we want safer communities, it is time for new thinking in Australia. Justice reinvestment is a smarter approach to criminal justice: reducing crime by re-directing money away from prisons into stronger, more caring communities.
Since 1984, the number of Australians in prison has doubled. Prison budgets in the States and Territories are spiralling and yet we don't feel safer. The Australian Greens know it is a social and economic imperative we find ways to reverse escalating imprisonment rates.
Time to end our lock-up culture
Justice reinvestment reflects the idea that prevention is better than cure. Prisons are only a temporary solution to criminal behaviour.
Statistics show that 40% of prisoners will be back in prison within a year. This revolving door is counter-productive and expensive. Imprisonment as we practise it in Australia represents a social and financial policy failure.
The cost of incarceration
The real price of growing incarceration rates is not just the cost to taxpayers of building and running more prisons, but the long- term impact imprisonment has on each prisoner, their family and their community.
A smarter approach
Justice reinvestment reduces the number of people in prison and the number of people returning to prison, generating savings which can be re-directed towards disadvantaged communities where most offenders are concentrated.
An independent national centre for justice reinvestment
The Greens know that Australia urgently needs a new, ambitious approach to criminal justice.
The "tough on crime" mantra is actually weak, ineffective and financially unsustainable. We need a long-term commitment to reduce crime by addressing disadvantage and building stronger communities.
Funding an annual justice reinvestment grant program
The rising number of people in prisons is putting pressure on government budgets.
Australia spends more than $3 billion dollars a year just running our prisons. The cost of building a new prison can be in the vicinity of half a billion dollars. Locking up someone costs an average of $305 per prisoner per day, or more than $110,000 a year.
Prisons just don't make economic sense. This money can be more effectively spent addressing the causes of crime and making our communities safer.