ACT justice reinvestment supports progress towards recidivism target


The ACT Government’s focus on justice reinvestment has contributed to a reduction in recidivism and is helping build a safer Canberra.

In 2018, the Government set a target to reduce recidivism by 25% by 2025. Data from the Report on Government Services indicates that fewer ex-detainees are returning to prison within a two-year period. The rate of recidivism has dropped 19.6% since the 2018-19 benchmark of 42.4%, including 3.1% from 37.2% in 2021-22 to 34.1% in 2022-23.

“Investing in our community helps prevent the underlying causes of crime and criminal offending. It helps us to be smarter about improving criminal justice outcomes,” said ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury. 

“While our goal of reducing recidivism by 25% by 2025 remains ambitious, the ABS data shows  we are making good progress towards achieving our target.

“Our government remains firmly committed to crime prevention and creating a responsive justice system that enhances safety for all Canberrans.”

Over the past five years, at least $115 million has been dedicated to justice reinvestment initiatives, supporting various programs. These include:

  • Intensive Correction Orders: Allowing offenders to maintain employment and community connections, both of which are key factors in reducing reoffending. Participants may also contribute to the community through court-ordered service work.
  • Drug and Alcohol Sentencing List: Offering an alternative approach to rehabilitating offenders with drug or alcohol-related crimes. This program aims to improve participant health, wellbeing, community reintegration and reduce reoffending.

Evaluations show participants in the Drug and Alcohol Sentencing List experienced significant improvements in mental and physical health, relationships, employment and overall optimism about their future. Notably, graduates of the program ceased reoffending, with substantial reductions even for those who did not fully complete the program.

“Justice reinvestment focuses on early intervention, minimising community harm, alternative sentencing and rehabilitation to prevent further offences,” the Attorney-General added.