In 2019, senior leaders from Jesuit Social Services embarked on a study trip to New Zealand to learn more about innovative approaches to dealing with adults and young people who have contact with the criminal justice system.
This #JusticeSolutions tour followed a similar tour to parts of the US and Europe in 2017.
The New Zealand justice system faces similar challenges to Australia’s justice system – a high incarceration rate despite a drop in the rate of offending and a significant over-representation of indigenous people in the justice system.
There are, however, pockets of success and innovation that could help inform us here in Australia. These include: political will and leadership; an appetite for innovation; the strong connection to culture; a commitment to a restorative justice approach to offending; and the acknowledgement of the importance of relationship and connection for all people.
Jesuit Social Services’ vision is to build a just society. Through our discussions with educators, nurses, parents, victims, business owners and media, we know that others share our view that every child is worth a second chance.
So it’s now time for a reset in Australia. Through this report, we set out some of our key observations from New Zealand and look at ideas that might be helpful here.