The Victorian Parliament’s legal and social issues committee has heard VACRO’s views on reforming the criminal justice system in testimony delivered during today’s public hearings for its Inquiry into Victoria’s Criminal Justice System. 

CEO Marius Smith, Senior Policy & Advocacy Advisor Abigail Lewis and Lived Experience Consultant Jordan Dittloff spoke in support of VACRO’s written submission, which is available to read in full on VACRO’s website 

The submission outlines three key areas in which people need support to desist from crime, and describes how government can provide that support. 

Key points:
  • VACRO has testified to the Legal and Social Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into Victoria’s Criminal Justice System
  • This hearing supports our full written submission, and allows us to expand on our recommendations for reform
  • Hearings and submissions help VACRO influence the policies and laws that govern our lives, which helps improve outcomes and circumstances for the people we support 

VACRO’s submission considers three areas for reform – described broadly as transforming terminology, transforming reintegration, and transforming prison.  

Transforming terminology challenges the terms of the inquiry – urging changed terminology that reflects the role language plays in a person’s self-narrative and journey away from crime. 

Transforming reintegration calls for longer, broader support for the reintegration work that is demonstrated to help people desist from crime and begin new lives – and for stronger connections to the community services and relationships that help keep people supported. 

Finally, transforming prison recognises that reintegration beings when a person enters prison, rather than on release day, and that good conditions in prison are integral to release. Ending solitary confinement, strengthening in-prison health care, and providing even more opportunities for family connection help give people the best possible start to their life after prison. 

VACRO’s policy function was developed in late 2019 to influence law and policy reform that improves outcomes and circumstances for participants. In mid-2021 we welcomed social policy researcher Abigail Lewis to lead this work. 

VACRO is grateful to the Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee for welcoming us to today’s hearing. 

More information