Fewer Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system

Goal

2.3

Fewer Aboriginal people progress through the criminal justice system

Outcomes

2.3.1

More people are diverted from further contact with the criminal justice system

2.3.2

Fewer people are remanded into custody 

2.3.3

More people successfully address fines, warrants and/or meet conditions of orders and sentences

 

The further someone progresses through the justice system, the harder it is for them to change their offending behaviours and avoid future contact with either prison or community corrections. Of particular concern is the growing number of Aboriginal people spending periods of time in prison on remand but who ultimately do not receive custodial sentences. A wide range of negative outcomes have been shown to impact Aboriginal people who are remanded in custody, including separation from family and community, disruption to education and employment, association with sentenced offenders, and not being able to access therapeutic programs. For young people, particularly those on care and protection orders, there are additional concerns around being inappropriately held in police cells or facilities that are not designed to meet their needs.

Given the high daily costs of incarceration, remand is both expensive and ineffective, increasing rather than decreasing the likelihood of future involvement with the criminal justice system. To date, diversion has largely focussed on children and young people at early stages of contact, but opportunities are also required for adults and people more deeply involved in the criminal justice system. For those who have fines, warrants or an order, more needs to be done to help people to successfully complete these.

 

Strategies

Icon indicating this strategy is diversion.

Provide flexible options for Aboriginal people with outstanding fines and warrants to address them in community-based settings.

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Support alleged offenders to obtain and comply with bail conditions to avoid unnecessary periods on remand.

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Establish culturally-appropriate bail support and diversion programs so police and magistrates have viable alternatives to incarceration prior to sentencing.

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Support adults and youth with supervised community based orders and Family Violence Intervention Orders through flexible and intensive case management, to reduce breaches.

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Support holistic, family-centred models and programs specifically designed for Aboriginal women in the justice system, with a focus on diversion and remand.

 

Existing initiatives

  • Aboriginal workers within the Courts Integrated Services Program (CISP) assist accused persons to access support and services to reduce re-offending.
  • Koori Women’s Diversion Program: intensive case management and support for Aboriginal women referred from the criminal justice system.
  • Koori Intensive Support Program: assists young people to comply with bail conditions or conditions placed on deferred sentences.
  • Aboriginal Community Fine Initiative (ACFI) and Sheriff's Aboriginal Liaison Officer (SALO) Program: assists Aboriginal people to address their infringement debt.
  • Local Justice Worker Program: supports for Aboriginal offenders to meet the conditions of their orders and connect with relevant community programs and services.
  • Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Place: a residential program to assist men to fulfil their Community Correction Orders.
  • Baroona Youth Healing Place: a residential program for young Aboriginal men involved with or at risk of contact with the criminal justice system.

New opportunities

Over five years we will

Aboriginal Youth Justice Strategy
In development

Aboriginal Youth Justice Strategy

Develop and implement an Aboriginal Youth Justice Strategy that addresses the specific recommendations to reduce Aboriginal over-representation in youth justice outlined in the Youth Justice Review and Strategy: Meeting needs and reducing offending.
Assist Aboriginal women with bail
Not yet commenced

Assist Aboriginal women with bail

Develop and implement cultural and gender-specific supports for Aboriginal women involved in the corrections system to obtain bail and avoid remand
Community based assistance to manage infringements
Not yet commenced

Community based assistance to manage infringements

Expand the ACFI and SALO program to include additional areas where SALOs and Fines Victoria staff can attend community events and provide direct assistance to Aboriginal community members to manage their infringements.
Community-based diversion programs
Not yet commenced

Community-based diversion programs

Deliver community-based, intensive diversion programs for Aboriginal children and young people who have had, or are vulnerable to involvement with the criminal justice system to address factors contributing to offending.
Feasibility study for women's residential program
Not yet commenced

Feasibility study for women's residential program

Explore the feasibility of a residential program like Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Place to provide cultural and gender-specific supports for Aboriginal women involved in the corrections system.
Koori Youth Justice Program
Underway

Koori Youth Justice Program

Continue to support the expanded Koori Youth Justice Program across the state to assist more Aboriginal young people in their communities and prevent Aboriginal children and youth becoming involved in the criminal justice system.
More Koori Workers in CISP
Underway

More Koori Workers in CISP

Provide greater support for Aboriginal accused on bail through the employment of an additional five Koori Court Integrated Support Program Workers.
Support the Work and Development Permit Scheme
Not yet commenced

Support the Work and Development Permit Scheme

Work with ACCOs to build support for the Work and Development Permit (WDP) Scheme and increase the number of WDP accredited sponsors.
Support to meet mental health treatment conditions on orders
In development

Support to meet mental health treatment conditions on orders

Provide access to culturally safe mental health services for Aboriginal people who have a moderate mental health condition or disorder and who have a Community Corrections Order with a Mental Health Treatment and Rehabilitation Condition or are on parole with a mandated mental health order.
Victoria Police referrals
Not yet commenced

Victoria Police referrals

Improve referral pathways to Aboriginal service providers and additional support through Victoria Police E-referrals.

Future possibilities

We will continue to work with Aboriginal communities to consider

Aboriginal representation in the CISP workforce
Future consideration

Aboriginal representation in the CISP workforce

Consider increasing the number of Koori Court Integrated Services Program Workers with the aim of ensuring Aboriginal representation in the CISP workforce reflects the level of Aboriginal representation in the criminal justice system.
Community-based support for high-risk young people
Future consideration

Community-based support for high-risk young people

Consider a community-based support service to provide intensive case management for high risk Aboriginal young people on community supervision orders.
Improving transition from youth justice
Future consideration

Improving transition from youth justice

Consider existing models or programs operating in the Aboriginal community to assist young people on parole and/or while transitioning out of the youth justice system, and examine their feasibility for expansion.
State-wide coverage of ACFI and SALO Programs
Future consideration

State-wide coverage of ACFI and SALO Programs

Consider expansion of the Sheriff’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer and Aboriginal Community Fines Initiative programs to enable state-wide coverage.