Skip navigation

Media Release: Expansion of Drug and Alcohol Court an excellent step to reduce reoffending

Justice Reform Initiative Media Release, 22 June 2023

The Justice Reform Initiative today welcomed the ACT Government’s Budget announcement of funding to increase the capacity of the Drug and Alcohol Sentencing Court. Executive Director Dr Mindy Sotiri noted that this announcement demonstrated a clear commitment to evidence-based justice policy.

“It’s clear that drug and alcohol courts are a sound investment. They improve community safety, reduce the number of people coming into the justice system, and provide the opportunity for people to address the alcohol and other drug issues that so often underpin criminal justice system contact” Dr Sotiri said.

The Government has committed $8.4 million to the ACT Drug and Alcohol Sentencing Court to increase its capacity by 20%, with a further $27 million provisioned for the three years beyond.

An independent review of the Court last year found it had saved the community $14 million in avoided prison time – more than its running costs – while reducing the rate of reoffending.

“This decision to increase investment in a program that clearly works and where there is high demand, is incredibly welcome” Dr Sotiri said. 

“While there is a great deal of work still to do in the ACT to invest in programs that interrupt cycles of incarceration, this is an excellent example of evidence based decision making that will improve community safety.”

The Justice Reform Initiative is a multi-partisan alliance supported by more than 120 of our most eminent Australians, including two former Governors-General, former Members of Parliament from all sides of politics, academics, respected Aboriginal leaders, senior former judges, including High Court judges, and others who have added their voices to end Australia’s dangerously high reliance on jails. 

The Initiative is calling for governments around Australia to move away from an entrenched reliance on incarceration as the mainstay of the criminal justice system and adopt an evidence-based approach to deliver better results for taxpayers, communities and people in the criminal justice system.

For more information visit

Media contact:  Pia Akerman 0412 346 746


The Initiative respectfully acknowledges and supports the current and longstanding efforts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reduce the numbers of Indigenous people incarcerated in Australia and, importantly, the leadership role which Indigenous-led organisations continue to play on this issue. We also acknowledge the work of many other individuals and organisations seeking change, such as those focused on the rate of imprisonment for women, people with mental health issues, people with disability and others.

Continue Reading

Read More