Building Communities, Not Prisons

The Greens are committed to building communities—not prisons. We’re taking the smarter approach to the criminal justice system.

Building Communities, Not Prisons

While crime rates are going down, incarceration rates are going up. A growing population, together with more awareness around domestic, family and sexual assault, are part of the story. More effective policing, reduced rates of bail, social issues like unemployment, poverty and family trauma, particularly among young offenders, also have an impact.

By building communities, not prisons, we can act to ensure that we support individuals to break the criminal justice cycle, and keep our community safe. 

As imprisonment rates rise, the challenges of housing growing rates of detainees are only going to increase, and the Greens don’t believe we can—in good conscience—maintain the status quo. That's where Justice Reinvestment comes in.

World leading justice targets to reduce reoffending rates

In the ACT, as part of our Parliamentary Agreement, we have committed to an ambitious target of reducing recidivism (reoffending rates) by 25% by 2025.

Meeting this target will be a challenge—to think differently about how we address our use of imprisonment as a punitive measure, and how this can be done in a safe and supportive way for our community.

We cannot keep building larger and larger prisons in the hope that this will simply deal with the issue of rising imprisonment rates.

That’s where Justice Reinvestment comes in. Our Justice Reinvestment program, 'Building Communities, Not Prisons', includes:

  • Ruling out an expansion of the Alexander Maconochie Centre high security campus—an Australian-first
  • Enhancing our rehabilitation framework at the AMC, including the construction of a purpose built reintegration centre
  • Providing more supported housing options for people on bail and exiting detention - a major factor in reoffending - for better justice outcomes;
  • Early support for people living with a mental illness or disability
  • Providing more pathways for safe and sustainable bail
  • Community building capabilities.

You can read more about these initiatives here. 

Budget funding to Build Communities, Not Prisons

New initiatives to further expand the BCNP program through the 2019-20 ACT Budget will include:

  • Providing more supported housing for better justice outcomes—especially for women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees
  • Improving rehabilitation options for detainees at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, including through a purpose built Reintegration Centre that will support inmates in transitioning back to the community
  • Expanding the ACT Bail Support Program to support offenders to comply with bail to keep them and the community safe
  • Establishing a world-class research team to reduce recidivism
  • Boosting staff capacity at the Alexander Maconochie Centre to strengthen our focus on rehabilitation. 

Alcohol and Drug Court

In June 2019, the ACT Government announced that a Drug and Alcohol Court will be established in the ACT.

The Court will see those with serious drug and alcohol issues who have been charged with some criminal offences undertake treatment for their drug and alcohol use.

By addressing a person's addictions, we're working to keep our community safe by preventing drug-related crime and ending the prison cycle.

This fulfils an agreement in our Parliamentary Agreement and an ACT Greens election commitment.