Smart Justice challenges Govt justice policies on evidence and cost

November 01, 2014 |

The Victorian Government’s law and order measures have today been challenged on cost and the lack of evidence supporting their effectiveness by Smart Justice, a coalition of 31 organisations led by the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

In a media release marking the commencement of baseline sentencing and one-punch laws, the government has today touted a list of claimed law-and-order reforms that it says will make Victoria safer.

‘We dispute this and call on the government to release the full cost of its reforms, evidence of their effectiveness, and an evaluation of their impact on the crime rate and recidivism,’ said Liana Buchanan, Executive Officer of the Federation, today.

‘These reforms have not been about building a safer Victoria – they are about building more prisons. Recidivism is increasing and there is no evidence to suggest the crime rate has been impacted by the program of harsher sentencing and massive prison expansion that will cost over $1 billion just this year.

We know reported crime overall is increasing. We know that prison itself increases reoffending, and we learnt this week that the number of offenders released into the community without supervision or conditions has doubled from 2012–13 to 2013–14.

‘We all want to improve community safety, and we agree there is a role for prison where community safety is at risk, but the government is pursuing measures that cost $billions for little result, rather than investing in alternatives that are more effective, address the causes of crime, and will create fewer victims in the future,’ Buchanan concluded.

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