The Justice Reinvestment (JR) research project, a collaboration between the Australian National University and the community of Cowra, has reached an important milestone.
The two and a half year research project has been examining the value of Justice Reinvestment, which sees the money spent on incarceration people for low level crimes, channelled into providing them and their community with support and training.
The Cowra Shire Council adopted a Justice Reinvestment Resolution in December, with Mayor Bill West recommending that the Council push for the establishment of a Justice Reinvestment pilot in Cowra.
'The JR Resolution is an important mechanism through which we can now work towards the next phase of the project, which is to seek funding to implement the findings of the research', lead researcher Dr Jill Guthrie said.
Representatives of the Cowra Shire Council, the Neighbourhood Centre and the Cowra Aboriginal Land Council and the ANU research team met with Member for Cootamundra local member, Ms Katrina Hodgkinson, on Friday, December 11, to discuss how recommendations from the research project can move towards implementation of a Justice Reinvestment Authority in Cowra.
'We had a very warm and positive meeting with Ms Hodgkinson. I very much appreciated that Ms Hodgkinson took time out of her busy schedule to meet with us to discuss how we might be able to move forward with the recommendation', Dr Guthrie said.
'After more than two years of relationship-building, interviewing and collaborating it is exciting to see such support for the notion of Justice Reinvestment," Corinne Walsh, Research Assistant for the JR project said.
"After our successful meeting with Katrina Hodgkinson, I enjoyed a chat and a laugh with her at the Cowra Christmas Festival. It was great to be at such a feel-good occasion with Cowra community members and see many familiar, friendly faces."
The JR research project is now in its final stages, and is due to wrap up at the end of April 2016.
It is hoped that after the project's completion, the concept of Justice Reinvestment will be embraced by all levels of Government and ultimately become a feature of policy and practice.