The Australian Greens today have cautiously welcomed a report that the over-representation of young Indigenous people in the criminal justice system has slightly fallen, but said the problem of Indigenous overrepresentation in jails was nowhere near being resolved.
Responding to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released today, Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright, said, "While I am heartened to see that the level of Indigenous over-representation in the youth justice system has slightly improved, these numbers are hardly a cause for celebration.
"Indigenous young people are still starkly over-represented in our jails, and re-imprisonment rates remain high - we have not yet turned the tide and it remains to be seen whether this downturn is a trend into the future.
"This type of research, however, supports the Greens' call for the Federal Government to take the lead in encouraging a nation-wide adoption of a Justice Reinvestment approach.
"If we want to see these numbers continue to drop in the future, we need to invest in targeted early intervention services in those communities that need it most.
"Extreme incarceration of Indigenous people, especially young people, does not make communities safer. It merely squanders their potential to lead a productive life and contribute to their communities.
"In the US, the adoption of Justice Reinvestment policies has contributed significantly to reducing incarceration rates, saving money and strengthening communities. It's a win, win, win approach; it worked there and it can work here too."