Justice and Over-Policing

Under the Liberal-Nationals, New South Wales is a police state with a broken criminal justice system. The dangerous law-and-order and anti-protest agenda has empowered the police to target, intimidate and detain First Nations people, people with disability and other marginalised groups, and those involved in protest activity. Children as young as 10 years old are arrested and locked up in police and prison cells, instead of cared for and supported in their communities and schools.  Increased police powers and harsh bail laws and penalties mean more people are policed, over-policed and imprisoned. 

NSW police and prison operators are not held accountable for mistreatment and deaths in custody.  We need genuinely independent, well-funded, empowered police and prison oversight bodies to prevent torture and degrading treatment of people in custody and hold these institutions to account. The Greens will put an end to police investigating police and fully implement the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).

The criminalisation of marginalised groups and mass incarceration of First Nations peoples must end. We need to invest in community-based alternatives to police and prisons, including community-led Justice Reinvestment, restorative justice, community courts,and rehabilitation and diversion programs that promote healing and real justice instead of crushing people and communities with the prison system. 

The Greens plan includes:

  • Repealing the anti-protest laws and enshrining dissent in law, 
  • Guaranteeing independent oversight and accountability of NSW police and prisons, 
  • Raising the age of criminal responsibility,
  • Implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody 
  • Ending the law-and-order auction. 

We will continue to strongly resist any move that seeks to further criminalise the community or that will funnel more people into our broken criminal justice system. We will end the use of sniffer dogs and invasive strip searches. 

We will build communities, not prisons.


The criminalisation of peaceful protestors is escalating and it needs to end. Protest is a vital part of a mature and responsible democracy and the Government needs to act to protect this fundamental right. 

Without non-violent direct action the Rocks would have been demolished, equal rights under law would not exist for women, First nations people would be worse off, minimum pay and conditions would have never become a reality and large chunks of the natural environment in our State would have been destroyed.

Protest is crucial to the function of our democracy. Civic participation through protest is an accountability mechanism and a key driver of social and environmental change. Now more than ever we need engaged citizens who are willing to show up and have their voices heard as we tackle some of our greatest challenges in history.

The Greens will ensure to enshrine the right to protest so peaceful activists are not being imprisoned for exercising a fundamental democratic right.

Read more our policy to Reclaim the Right to Protest


Reform Our Prisons

The Greens will reform our prison system to lead the world in inmate rehabilitation and improve community safety.

NSW prisons are centred on punishment not rehabilitation and are failing inmates and communities. Many prisons do not meet minimum human rights standards and some are Victorian era prisons and for First Nations people they are a death trap. 

NSW has an incarceration rate higher than the national average. Forty percent of people who leave prison reoffend within the first twelve months of their release. This recidivism rate shows our justice system's failure to rehabilitate inmates and return them safely to society. 

The Greens will reform our prisons to ensure they meet minimum human rights standards and make NSW world leaders in inmate rehabilitation. We must ensure that a prison sentence does not deprive a person of their human rights. 

Stop Over Policing

The expansion of police powers in NSW is relentless. Police have become more militarised and have been handed more powers to search and strip people with almost no oversight or accountability. Only 2% of cases of misconduct or corruption are independently investigated. 

Marginalised groups are targeted by racist and discriminatory laws that empower police to watch, interrogate and search people without a warrant. Children as young as 10 can legally be strip searched and sniffer dogs are used in communities. 

The Greens are committed to keeping communities genuinely safe. The Greens will end the use of sniffer dogs in all community settings. We’ll wind back the power to strip search in community settings, removing powers to strip search any child under the age of 16. We will end the use of general suspect target management plans and instigate a comprehensive review of police armament and phase out cops with guns. We’ll build our statewide mental health response capacity to replace police responses - so no one is too scared to call the police.


The international standard for the age a young person can be held criminally responsible is 14  years. Many countries do not send young people to prison. Instead, young people who offend receive social and psychological responses rather than criminal responses.

First Nations children and young people make up more than half of the young people in prison in New South Wales. This disproportionate number of First Nations young people in prison is a marker of the ongoing impacts of colonisation and dispossession.

The Greens will Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility to 14 years of age and no person under 16 years of age in New South Wales will go to prison.

Read more about our Raise the Age policy here