Imprisonment is harmful, costly and doesn't work to make our community safer. There is an urgent need to stop using prison as our default response to both crime and disadvantage. We need a new approach that focuses on the social and health drivers of crime and incarceration, and addresses the over-representation of vulnerable and disadvantaged populations in the criminal justice system, including the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Imprisonment leads to high rates of recidivism, reduced opportunities for employment post-release, and poorer education outcomes for children of people in prison – punishing the next generation and continuing a cycle of disadvantage.
We need evidence-based criminal justice policy in Australia that identifies effective alternatives to incarceration and enhances community safety.
I call on our parliamentary leaders to work together for evidence-based policy and for the reduction of costly and harmful over-incarceration.