A new report has found ACT’s Galambany Circle Sentencing Court has improved wellbeing, health, education and economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders who have been sentenced, providing substantial benefits for the First nations community and the ACT as a whole.
The Cost Benefit Analysis, released by the ACT Government at the end of this year’s National Reconciliation Week, states that the court, “plays a key role in reducing some of the negative impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may experience from the ACT’s justice system.”
The Analysis concluded “Galambany Court improves the quality of life and output of the ACT community and is an excellent use of ACT resources.”
Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the report shows Galambany is a valuable service for Canberra’s First Nations communities and delivers benefits to the ACT as a whole.
“Reducing the negative impacts of contact with the justice system for First Nations people also reduces pressure on government services like the courts, hospitals, foster care and emergency housing. When you look at that against how much this court costs to run, it’s clear Galambany Circle Sentencing Court is a positive investment for the ACT,” Attorney-General Rattenbury said.
“This analysis has found that every dollar used for the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court delivers over three dollars in benefits to the community. In fact, Galambany is expected to save the justice system alone more than $5 million in the 10 years to 2026.
“Only by listening to and working collaboratively together with First Nations communities, can we comprehensively address the troubling over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system. Galambany Court is one way we are working well together.”
Galambany means ‘we all, including you’. The court’s purpose is to provide effective and restorative processes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants through community involvement in sentencing, as an alternative to the conventional Magistrates Court process.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and other respected persons sit alongside the Magistrate in the circle sentencing court, helping manage each case in an inclusive and culturally appropriate way.
The report is available at: https://justice.act.gov.au/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-justice-affairs.