As the Prime Minister announces a new crime prevention initiative, a Senate Inquiry is about to get underway which will challenge the management of Australia's justice system, says Australian Greens Legal Affairs spokesperson Senator Penny Wright.
"The Prime Minister's announcement today of a $40 million crime prevention fund is just the start of what could be done to create safer communities and reduce the financial impact of crime," Senator Wright said.
"Our current management of crime is not working. The prison population is increasing exponentially, costing taxpayers billions each year.
"Vast amounts of money can be saved by fixing the underlying causes of crime. For example, the majority of prisoners have significantly less education than the rest of the population and 87 per cent of young people in jail have a psychological disorder.
"If we can address these issues much earlier, we can prevent many children from entering the criminal justice system in the first place, saving money and making our communities safer.
"This is why I have launched a Senate inquiry to look at a new approach to crime that has been highly successful in the United States. Justice Reinvestment is a new name for an old idea - prevention is better than cure.
"I am glad the Prime Minister has recognised this in a small way and the Government will be paying close attention as the inquiry hearings begin next week.
"There are already dozens of groups and organisations operating on this principle that could use further support and there is a great need for Federal leadership on this issue."
Over 100 organisations, criminal justice experts and charities made submissions to the Inquiry, chaired by Senator Wright, calling for a new approach to crime. More information about the Inquiry can be found here.