Youth Law

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Youthlaw is a specialist community legal centre for young people in Victoria. It convenes Smart Justice for Young People (SJ4YP) — a coalition of over 40 legal, youth, health, welfare and community organisations. All of these organisations share an interest in not only supporting young people who find themselves affected by or within the criminal justice system but also in preventing their entry into the system itself. Key to this is understanding and addressing the underlying causes of youth offending and SJ4YP are taking a lead in advocating for and raising awareness of how a justice reinvestment (JR) approach can be implemented in Victoria to achieve this.

While Victoria has not engaged in a JR trial and neither the community nor government have embraced the language of JR, there is significant investment in and work going on in Victorian communities that has some features of a JR approach. This work shows how JR can strengthen communities and reduce youth offending.

The SJ4YP has produced a series of resources that aim to find a common language to define, describe and promote the JR approach to community and government. Some of the published resources to date include:

  • A short film on justice reinvestment which provides a neat explanation of the benefits and features of JR;
  • a report, Investing in Communities not prisons, calling on the Victorian Government to develop a 10 year crime prevention plan that adopts a justice reinvestment approach. This involves setting up a justice reinvestment fund, investing in Victorian place-based justice reinvestment pilots and providing communities with the resources and authority they need to ready themselves for a justice reinvestment approach.
  • Clearing House that aims to help communities explore what, why and how to do justice reinvestment. The information and resources in these pages are a starting point and launching pad for communities, individuals and organisations wanting to know more about justice reinvestment and to explore new justice reinvestment projects.

If you would like to find out more about the work Youthlaw and SJ4YP is doing in the justice reinvestment space please contact Tiffany Overall, Advocacy and Human Rights Officer 03 9611 2439, tiffany@youthlaw.asn.au