Criminal Justice Policy for a more just and safer community - media release
Community safety is always a priority, according to Denis Fitzgerald, Executive Director of
Catholic Social Services Victoria: “Catholic Social Services Victoria believes that the key to a
safer society is to build communities where the root causes of crime are addressed”. Going further he
says, “when offences are committed, a focus on restoration for all parties, and on rehabilitation,
must be central to our response”.
In the last decade Victoria’s prison population has risen by 58% with harsher sentencing rather
than increased crime rates appearing to be the key driver for increase. Research shows that
exposing someone to prison doesn’t reduce reoffending, and may in fact increase it. Instead, as a
community, we should focus on fostering reconciliation and restoring harmony in social
relationships disrupted by crime. It’s important to break the cycle of crime for safer
communities, as well as to free up funds for key societal needs; it costs approximately $98,000
per year to imprison someone.
Catholic Social Services Victoria has released a four-point criminal justice policy action plan:
- Implement preventative strategies – placing more emphasis on measures that address
the root causes that underlie crime and reoffending (such as low education levels,
mental health issues, income inequality, lack of stable housing and employment).
- More emphasis on rehabilitation (including through prison chaplaincy) and transition to
aid re-integration into the community – housing, employment and social inclusion are all
necessary, particularly for groups that are already marginalised.
- Alternatives to prison should be further developed – as well as promoting restoration
and rehabilitation - this can divert funds from costly incarceration to services into
programs that address the underlying causes of crime in local communities – a justice
- Support victims of crime – including, where appropriate, use of restorative justice
processes that offer restoration, reconciliation, and restitution involving the offender,
victim and community.
This is to repair harm and also, where possible, break the cycle of
crime through fostering greater offender accountability and behaviour change.
You can download the Catholic Social Services Victoria
Criminal Justice – Policy Perspective here
Contact: Denis Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Catholic Social Services Victoria. Mob: 0418 136 372
12 January 2017
Download the PDF of our Media Release.