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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 25, 2010

AUSTRALIA STUDY FINDS COMMUNITY JUSTICE CENTER WORKS

VICTORIA NEIGHBORHOOD JUSTICE, AUSTRALIA - The Brumby Labor Government's Neighborhood Justice Centre helped reduce crime and increased offender compliance in the City of Yarra, Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls announced today.

Mr Hulls said an extensive review of the Neighborhood Justice Centre in Collingwood - the only community justice centre in Australia - found it had also delivered value for money.

The evaluation of the NJC, completed by the University of Melbourne, Flinders University, the Brotherhood of St Lawrence and Price Waterhouse Coopers, found:

- Recidivism rates dropped from 41 per cent to 34 per cent among NJC offenders;

- NJC offenders were 14 per cent less likely to re-offend than offenders at other courts;

- NJC offenders completed an average 105 hours of unpaid community work compared to the state average of 68 hours;

- The Yarra crime rate had dropped by 12 per cent since the centre was established.

"These results show that the Government's commitment to community justice works, and the NJC has the capacity to turn around people's lives and get people engaging with their neighbourhoods," Mr Hulls said.

The Neighbourhood Justice Centre was set up in 2007 as a multi-jurisdictional court that also provides drug and alcohol counseling, advice on mental health, housing and employment, victims' support and appropriate dispute resolution.

Mr Hulls said the evaluation found the NJC had provided Victorians with a return on their investment. "For every $1 the Government has invested in the NJC, the expected return is between $1.09 and $2.23 in savings to the wider justice system," he said.

"More than 11,000 residents have made contact since the centre was established in 2007 and, as it celebrates its third anniversary, it's important to note it has become a real community asset to the Collingwood area and its surrounds."


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