Treating the cause of crime more effective than only addressing the crime itself

June 28, 2018 by Jess Reid, University of Western Australia

Researchers from The University of Western Australia's Law School have been studying the feasibility of a justice model that has the potential to improve the effectiveness of crime prevention in Western Australia.

The model would see a Community Justice Centre established which is a one stop shop that includes a court, crime prevention team and key support services located in the same location. The centre would work in partnership with the local community to effectively address the underlying causes of crimes.

With WA Corrective Services spending more than $900 million last financial year and 39 per cent of imprisoned offenders returning to jail within a two year period, Associate Professor Sarah Murray from UWA's Law School said new approaches were needed using local knowledge and bringing the community into the picture.

"What's of particular concern is that WA has the highest imprisonment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia," she said.

"We need to partner with local Elders, Aboriginal controlled organisations and key community and government groups to co-design solutions that meet local needs and provide culturally safer justice experiences.

"The centre would house a court but it becomes so much more than that, hosting local events for the community and allowing members of the public to play an active role in creating positive and safe neighbourhoods."

Australia's first Community Justice Centre, the Victorian Neighbourhood Justice Centre, was based on a US model and has been in operation for more than 10 years, reducing the rate in the City of Yarra and improving community wellbeing and cohesion.

"For such centres, imprisonment is one of a suite of options which may be required. However, in other cases, engagement with the criminal justice system is an opportunity for offenders to turn their lives around using community-based options that allow them to undergo drug or alcohol treatment, access mental health services or secure permanent housing or employment.

"Another benefit of a Community Justice Centre is that the court lists, services and activities would be streamlined and tailored to the unique needs of the particular locality, creating more efficient and effective justice outcomes."

The research paper was launched by the Chief Justice of Western Australia, the Hon. Wayne Martin AC, and recommends a Community Justice Centre pilot study for Western Australia.

Explore further: Community justice court associated with lower rearrest rates

More information: The report is available online: … ITY-STUDY-REPORT.pdf

Related Stories

Research reveals restorative justice reduces recidivism

July 28, 2016

Restorative justice programs, such victim-offender mediation and community impact panels, are more effective in reducing recidivism rates among juvenile offenders than traditional court processing, a study by researchers ...

Recommended for you

Sensual fresco discovered in ancient Pompeii bedroom

November 19, 2018

Archaeologists have found a fresco in an ancient Pompeii bedroom that depicts a sensual scene of the Roman god Jupiter, disguised as a swan, and a legendary queen of Sparta from Greek mythology.

Excavators find tombs buried in Bolivia 500 years ago

November 17, 2018

Archaeologists say they found tombs at a Bolivian quarry containing remains from more than 500 years ago that give an insight into the interaction of various peoples with the expanding Inca empire.

Preventing chemical weapons as sciences converge

November 15, 2018

Alarming examples of the dangers from chemical weapons have been seen recently in the use of industrial chemicals and the nerve agent sarin against civilians in Syria, and in the targeted assassination operations using VX ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.