COVID-19 has shown that alternative ways of operating the justice system are possible, and that there is an opportunity to ‘build back better’ with a socially and environmentally just system that is driven by evidence and best practice.

Jesuit Social Services was pleased to make a submission to the Inquiry into Victoria’s Criminal Justice System, expressing our concern at rising prison populations and recidivism rates, and articulating the need for reform toward a system underpinned by principles of prevention, early intervention, and restorative justice, which could prevent crime and strengthen whole communities.

Summary of our recommendations:

  • Prevent crime and intervene early through place-based and culturally appropriate approaches that strengthen communities, address violence, and connect people with opportunities for education, training and employment.
  • Promote alternatives to imprisonment by diverting people away from the justice system, reforming legislation, and resourcing restorative justice approaches.
  • Reduce the harm arising from justice system involvement through improved practices and oversight at detention facilities and stronger therapeutic and healthcare responses.
  • Enable better transitions from the justice system to the community, with a focus on expanded transitional support and improved post-prison housing opportunities.

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