ACSO’s 10th International Criminal Justice Conference wrapped up last week after two successful days of inspirational keynote speeches, powerful panel discussions, insightful breakout sessions, and moving contributions from a series of lived experience experts. The event was MC’d by veteran ABC radio and TV presenter Jon Faine.
Centred around the theme, “Global Uncertainty. Building Safer and Resilient Communities”, conference streams focused on examples of disrupted justice from Australia and around the world, innovation in the prevention of incarceration, justice system experiences and addressing risk, resilience and recovery.
Two significant highlights of the event included a presentation by Mark Patterson, Administrator of the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility and Chair, Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission, who also helped achieve a zero incarceration rate for teenage girls in his home country; and John Parvensky, President and CEO of Colorado Coalition for the Homeless who spoke of finding housing and support solutions for at risk people in the USA, including creation of the Denver Social Impact Bond (SIB). Attendees remarked that the success of these program provided a powerful message that change in the justice system is possible.
“The sustainability and effectiveness of the Australian criminal justice system is at a critical juncture.” said ACSO CEO Vaughan Winther. A convergence of local and global crises has increased mental and financial distress and caused rates of family violence, homelessness and substance addiction to rise. All of which increases people’s chances of coming into contact with the criminal justice system.
“At the same time, the costs of building and operating prisons are rapidly increasing. As an industry, we need to come together – corporates, NFPs and governments, to carefully balance the cost of social reforms along with the workforce skills and availability needed to deliver these services.”
“The challenges are immense, but we hope, through rigorous discussion we have moved closer towards the common goal of creating a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, and prison is the last resort.”