The Australian criminal justice system and deep disadvantage roundtable



On 15 November, we hosted our fourth ANU-CPD Policy Dialogue for 2019 as part of Centre for Policy Development’s Effective Government Program. Our focus was the Australian criminal justice system and deep disadvantage. The roundtable discussion featured opening remarks from Professor Lorana Bartels (Program Leader of Criminology, Australian National University), Krystal Lockwood (Ph.D. Candidate, Griffith University), John Spierings (Executive Officer, Reichstein Foundation), Jacinta Pollard (Managing Director, Caraniche) and Marlene Morison (Former Corrections Commissioner, Queensland).

The Australian criminal justice system and deep disadvantage roundtable was jointly hosted by CPD with ANU Chancellor and former Foreign Minister, the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC, and brought together 25 leaders from government, philanthropy, civil society and academia. The roundtable was moderated by CPD’s CEO Travers McLeod and held under the Chatham House Rule. The interactive discussion was a chance for policymakers, service providers, community organisations, academics, philanthropists, and government to discuss what might be done to address the over-representation of marginalised people in our criminal justice system, and how best to address systemic policy problems created by gaps in government service delivery.

Discussions from The Australian criminal justice system and deep disadvantage Roundtable 

The discussion on criminal justice system and deep disadvantage opened with expert participants giving an outline of the current state of the sector, including the slow progress on enacting the recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Pathways to Justice Inquiry, the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system, the increasing rate of incarceration of women, the challenges of providing support to people in the criminal justice system, the system-level obstacles to reform facing policymakers, and the challenges of designing reforms that include the voice of prisoners and those most impacted by the system.  We considered opportunities for the philanthropic sector to champion changes to the criminal justice system and help to de-risk reform in this complex and highly contested policy area.

The following discussion touched on:

  • Collaborative approaches to identify intervention points and prevent entry into the criminal justice system in the first place, including by working closely with prisoners and their families;
  • What we know about effective programs and services within the prison system and upon release, including the challenges of engaging industry to employ ex-offenders;
  • The narrative around the criminal justice system which shapes public perceptions and strategies to re-frame the debate;
  • The role of place-based approaches, including the importance of data, evidence and evaluation, and the challenge of scaling up pilots; and
  • The importance of related systems changes to policies and services that interact with Australia’s criminal justice system.

Participants of the The Australian criminal justice system and deep disadvantage Roundtable

Abhilash Mudaliar (Impact Investing and Social Ventures, Paul Ramsay Foundation); Andrew Bushnell (Research Fellow, Institute of Public Affairs); Ben Carroll MP (Victorian Minister for Corrections); Cameron Spence (Director, Spence Consulting Group); Catherine Neville (Executive Director, Advocacy and Strategy, Jesuit Social Services); Cliff Eberly (Manager, Social and Economic Inclusion, Wyndham City Council); Dan Nicholson (Executive Director for Criminal Law and for the Western Suburbs Region, Victorian Legal Aid); Emma Cassar (Commissioner, Corrections Victoria); Gareth Evans AC QC (Chancellor, Australian National University); Glyn Davis AC (Distinguished Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy and CEO, Paul Ramsay Foundation); Jacinta Pollard (Managing Director, Caraniche); Jeni Whalan (Chief Program Officer, Paul Ramsay Foundation); Jessica Bartik (Assistant Director, Justice Branch, Victorian Department of Premier & Cabinet); John Spierings (Executive Officer, Reichstein Foundation); Krystal Lockwood (PhD Candidate, Griffith University); Liz Curran (Associate Professor, Australian National University); Lorana Bartels (Professor and Program Leader of Criminology, Australian National University); Marlene Morison (Former Corrections Commissioner, Queensland); Michael Livingstone (Chief of Staff to Minister Ben Carroll MP); Michael Perusco (CEO, Berry Street); Peter Harmsworth AO (Former Director General, Corrections Victoria and CPD Fellow); Rod Marsh (Independent Consultant); Ruth McCausland (Director of Research and Evaluation, Yuwaya Ngarra-li Partnership, University of New South Wales); Simone Gianelli (Head of Strategy and Growth, Save the Children Australia); Stan Winford (Associate Director of Research, Innovation & Reform, RMIT Centre for Innovative Justice); Terry Moran AC (Chairperson, Centre for Policy Development); Travers McLeod (CEO, Centre for Policy Development); Vincent Shin (Senior Lawyer, WestJustice).