People who are experiencing disadvantage are often more vulnerable to legal problems and are disproportionately represented in the justice system, leading to a criminalisation of poverty and disadvantage. This is why QCOSS made a submission to the Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) Inquiry into Imprisonment and Recidivism.
In the report, QCOSS made the following recommendations:
1. Implement recommendations from previous reports – governments have failed to implement the many evidence-based recommendations that have already been made, especially those that aim to improve outcomes for groups who are vulnerable to injustice.
2. Change the narrative – politicians and the media must end the counter-productive ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric and respond to the (actual, not perceived) risk to individuals and community.
3. Follow a human rights framework – criminal justice system (from policy makers to prisons) must adhere to a human rights framework.
4. Target prevention and early intervention– remove structural barriers, implement place-based justice reinvestment and adequately fund support services so that they can support people both before they encounter the criminal justice system, and after they transition back to community.
5. Ensure proportionality and implement alternatives to imprisonment – punishments must not escalate beyond the scale of the original offence, and some offenders should never end up in prison. Include technological confinement and diversionary programs such as drug courts.