Reoffending in the spotlight at justice symposium

August 25, 2016 |

Victoria’s progress on reducing reoffending by strengthening rehabilitation and reintegration of former prisoners will be the focus of the Remaking Justice symposium to be held on Thursday 25 August in Melbourne.

The symposium, which brings together a range of experts, is being convened by Smart Justice, a coalition of 35 organisations led by the Federation of Community Legal Centres to promote evidence-based justice policies.

A keynote presentation by Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass MBE will focus on her September 2015 report, Investigation into the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners, and will examine progress on the report’s 25 recommendations to address the high level of reoffending, excessive prisoner numbers, and an unsustainable prison system that currently costs Victoria more than $1 billion a year.

‘This symposium is an important opportunity to take stock of progress on measures we need to actually reduce offending and promote community safety. It’s a further step in a much-needed public conversation to turn the justice debate away from punitive and costly policies that don’t work to evidence-based approaches that build community safety,’ said Michelle McDonnell, spokesperson for Smart Justice, today.

The report calls for a whole-of-government approach to reduce offending and recidivism and to support rehabilitation. Further recommendations span prevention-focused investment to tackle the causes of offending, alternatives to incarceration, programs in prison and support post-release, treatment of drug and alcohol problems, and measures to meet the specific needs of Indigenous people who are over-represented in the prison population.

Following the keynote, former prisoners will speak about their experiences of the system, Corrections Victoria will present plans for a more effective justice system, and Human Rights Law Centre executive director, Hugh de Kretser, will lead an expert panel including Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg, Launch Housing Deputy CEO Dr Heather Holst, David Moore PhD and Astrid Birgden PhD.

Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula will conclude the event by speaking on priorities and opportunities in the justice system.

Remaking Justice will be held at the Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne from 10.30 am on Thursday 25 August 2016 (Entry from 10.00am).

Media please note that restrictions will apply on media coverage of former prisoners to protect their privacy.