Media Release: Draft report recommends criminal justice reform

A draft report by the Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) has proposed significant reforms to Queensland’s criminal justice system to address the rising prison population and rate of reoffending.

In September 2018, Deputy Premier Hon Jackie Trad asked the QPC to undertake an inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism to recommend policy changes to improve outcomes for the Queensland community.

From 2012 to 2018, the number of people in Queensland’s prisons rose by 58 per cent.

The QPC found behavioural, policy and system changes—not underlying rates of crime, which have been falling steadily for the past 20 years—are driving increasing imprisonment rates.

Principal Commissioner, Kim Wood, said, “On average, it costs $107,000 to keep an adult in prison for a year. Most prison sentences are short—the median term is 3.9 months—and 65 per cent are for non-violent offences.

“While imprisonment can provide benefits, particularly where it prevents high harm offences, in many cases the costs of imprisonment are likely to outweigh the benefits to the Queensland community.

“In other cases, lower cost alternatives may provide greater benefits to the community.

“Options that will have a meaningful impact on the prison population will require changes to the way things are done,” he said

The QPC has made 18 draft recommendations that aim to:

• allow more effective ways to deal with offending

• break the cycle of offending

• reduce interactions with the criminal justice system

• create a better decision-making architecture.

The QPC is now seeking feedback on its preliminary analysis and recommendations. The draft report can be found here: www.qpc.qld.gov.au/inquiries/imprisonment/

All interested parties are invited to make a submission and participate in consultation sessions around the state. Submissions close 17 April 2019.

The QPC will submit its final report to the Queensland Government by
1 August 2019.





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Suzanne Oxford
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