Cowra’s Justice Reinvestment (JR) Project was highlighted at a policy proposal forum at NSW Parliament House in Sydney last Thursday, August 10.
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The JR Project was one of a number of proposals presented on the day as examples of how communities across Australia are trying to reduce rates of incarceration and re-offending, particularly among indigenous populations.
NSW Shadow Attorney General, Paul Lynch, said there needs to be a commitment by the State Government to fund the Cowra JR Project.
“Justice Reinvestment is an important policy to reduce re-offending and consequently aboriginal incarceration rates,” Mr Lynch said.
“It’s about time the State Government made a decision and got on with it.”
Mr Lynch said the proposal had been mentioned a number of times in the state parliament in the past twelve months.
“The idea has been talked about for some time and there’s been a proposal on the State Government’s desk for at least a year,” Mr Lynch said.
“I asked questions in Parliament last year and was told the Department was ‘reviewing’ the proposal.”
Mr Lynch said that the project has received local community support and he was surprised it had not received funding yet.
“Even the local MP (Katrina Hodgkinson) tried to give her own Government a push by giving a notice of a motion in Parliament but even that hasn’t worked,” Mr Lynch said.
“With the degree of local and community support behind this proposal has its inexplicable that the Government hasn’t funded it.”
He said the NSW Labor party was committed to justice reinvestment, promising to spend $4.5mil on the policy.
“That’s a policy we continue to support. Proposals such as Cowra’s would be an ideal fit for our policy,” Mr Lynch said.
“The policy of Justice Reinvestment was first developed in the USA and was supported notably by fiscal conservatives and Republicans which sought a mere rational approach to justice expenditure.”
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