Just Reinvest NSW welcomes the appointment of our Champion Mick Gooda with the Honorable Margaret White AO as Commissioners to the Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory.
Sarah Hopkins, Chair of Just Reinvest NSW says the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has been a long time advocate of justice reinvestment to address the massive over-representation of Indigenous young people in detention centres across Australia.
“Mick Gooda brings to the table both a wealth of experience and a depth of concern for the over-representation of Indigenous young people in Australia.
“He is also solution-orientated, which is why he has been a Champion for Just Reinvest NSW for the last four years.
“Mick Gooda assisted in getting the Bourke justice reinvestment trial off the ground which is one of the first of its kind in Australia.
“Justice reinvestment provides an alternative approach to imprisonment, and a way forward for governments to address a system which is failing our kids.
“The Royal Commission provides the backdrop and a springboard for a national approach to addressing the overrepresentation of Aboriginal young people in the prison system.
“We have to address the underlying reasons and systemic failures that are leading young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to enter the prison system in the first place at such disproportionate levels.’
“We have seen this week the horrors to which people – children! – can be exposed to inside the prison system.
“No child should be tortured and abused, ever.”
“What is happening in Don Dale, and indeed as reported in other juvenile detention centres across Australia needs to be urgently investigated and remedied.
“The safety of children and young people needs to be paramount, particularly Indigenous children who are vastly over-represented in the juvenile justice system.
“Justice reinvestment looks at why children and young people people are going inside in the first place, and develops an approach to reduce incarceration rates while making whole communities safer for all individuals.
“We have to think differently.
“Justice reinvestment is a smarter approach that will reduce crime and create safer, stronger communities.
“We cannot afford to lose another generation of Aboriginal young people to the criminal justice system.
“Within the terms of reference of the Royal Commission, we trust Mr Gooda and his co-commissioner Justice Margaret White will aptly uncover the failings of the youth detention system in the Northern Territory and put forward appropriate measures to prevent further horrors that were exposed last Monday night.”
Just Reinvest NSW is working to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the criminal justice and prison system in NSW through a justice reinvestment approach.
Justice Reinvestment aims to address the underlying causes of crime and improve outcomes for both individuals and communities.
It uses data to identify communities with a high concentration of offenders and assess the particular problems facing those communities. It shifts spending away from incarceration, towards early intervention, prevention and treatment for Aboriginal young people at risk. By diverting funds into those programs, it creates savings in the criminal justice system, which can be tracked and reinvested in the community.
Justice reinvestment provides communities with the power and resources to support people tackling challenging circumstances through long-term measures tailored to their local needs. In effect, it addresses the underlying drivers of many crimes.
Just Reinvest NSW is currently working with the community of Bourke, NSW to trial a community-driven collaborative approach to justice reinvestment.
2 August 2016