A new justice narrative

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QCOSS would like to congratulate the Queensland Productivity Commission for their comprehensive final report on Imprisonment and Recidivism. The report clearly outlines the evidence base and the structural reform required for reducing imprisonment and recidivism in Queensland.

QPC recommends the state government clearly outline its intent and objections, performance measures and evaluation results. This data would help to correct the false ‘tough on crime’ media and political narrative that repeats throughout Queensland, and rather focus on an evidence-based community view. We are pleased the state government has indicated support for some of these publications.

As one our key areas of work, QCOSS is pleased that QPC has recommended place-based, community-led responses. We believe building on existing strengths in communities and supporting the development of local leadership can best progress issues within communities. It is important the state government realises that ‘place-based’ means community-led approaches, with devolved local citizen-led governance, not simply regionally focussed.

The QPC also recommends the full implementation of the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) Work and Development Orders (WDOs). WDOs provide an alternative justice option for people experiencing poverty and disadvantage that cannot afford to pay back fines (QPC also recommends extending WDOs into prisons). It is disappointing that the state government does not acknowledge this recommendation.

It is similarly disappointing that the state government rejects making necessary evidence-based legislative changes. This includes reducing the scope of criminal offences, decriminalising and legalising low-harm drugs, and the increase of alternative options instead of imprisonment.

QCOSS will continue to advocate for our elected leaders to implement evidence-based legislative reform and end the unhelpful ‘tough on crime’ narrative that surrounds imprisonment and recidivism in Queensland.

Read QPC’s final report.

Read the state government’s response.

Read QCOSS’ submission.

12 February 2020