IN an attempt to tackle the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the justice system, the ACT government is providing $1.35 million to Aboriginal organisations over three years to establish programs for offenders, detainees and ex-detainees.
Corrections and Justice Health Minister Shane Rattenbury says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise 1.9 per cent of the ACT population but currently make up 22 per cent of the ACT’s prison population.
To get these statistics down, the money will invest into programs such as “Front Up”, a program to assist people who have an outstanding warrant, have breached bail or breached a community-based sentence, “Circle Sentencing Court Support”, a program to provide support to those with matters before the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court, “Throughcare Support”, a client-centred program designed to enable people to succeed on their journey from prison to living back in the community and “Yarning Circles for Justice”, a series of 26-week programs that use co-designed activities to support ex-detainees in a group setting to stay in the community and rebuild their lives.
Mr Rattenbury says justice reinvestment is a way forward in addressing these very real concerns in relation to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system.
“Justice reinvestment also acknowledges that some members of our community are significantly more likely to be incarcerated,” he says.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately represented across the justice system.
“This is often compounded by social economic issues, combined with the effects of intergenerational trauma, disenfranchisement, colonisation and structural racism.”