All of the experts agree – kids don't belong in prison. Prisons don't address the causes of problematic behaviour, and they don't reduce recidivism. 

Instead, when a child comes into contact with the criminal justice system they enter a never-ending cycle of trauma, harm and violence. This shameful reality is even greater for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, who are 26 times more likely than their peers to be incarcerated. So what’s the alternative?

It's called justice reinvestment.

Justice reinvestment is led by the community, for the community. Instead of failed punitive approaches, justice reinvestment is evidence-based. It embraces therapeutic and rehabilitative methods like diversion programs that address the underlying causes of problematic behaviour in children, in order to improve it - diverting them away from the criminal justice system.

Diversion programs and services like this already exist all over the country - and they’re incredibly successful. The Northern Territory government’s own research shows us that 76% of kids who complete diversion programs don’t reoffend within 12 months. 

From Bourke in NSW, to Halls Creek in the Kimberley, to Mt Isa in North Queensland - these programs succeed because they are led by the communities who know what works best for them. Governments know this too. They just need to fund them properly. 

The Albanese Government has budgeted $81.5 million to invest in Indigenous justice reinvestment to support 30 communities, in establishing initiatives that address the root causes of incarceration and Aboriginal deaths in custody. We must ensure that they honour this commitment.

Sign the petition calling on the government to stop playing politics with the lives of our children, and start investing in justice that works now. 

Sign the Petition

  Our Petition

Minister for Indigenous Australians
Hon Linda Burney MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT, 2600

Dear Minister Burney

We know you’re against the incarceration of children - you have told us 10 is too young.

That your government is taking national leadership in pursuing justice for children in contact with the criminal justice system is monumental. The Labor Party budgeted millions of dollars toward justice reinvestment, and I am adding my name to the list of advocates, activists and community members who want to see your government’s commitment come to fruition. 

The evidence of experts concludes that violent actions or behaviour in young children are often directly linked to experiences of trauma, neglect, harm or unaddressed mental or physical health problems. A justice reinvestment approach enables these experts to identify and address the root causes of this behaviour, in order to improve it and divert children away from the criminal justice system.

Having $81.5 million invested into First Nations-led solutions will immeasurably benefit children, families, and communities. This money will have a huge impact in breaking the cycle of the over-representation of First Nations children in the criminal justice system. The Northern Territory government’s own research has already proved this to be true.

Please ensure that Labor holds true to their commitment toward justice reinvestment.

Yours sincerely,