VACRO welcomes measures in the Victorian Government’s 2021-22 Budget that reduce the harm of contact with the criminal justice system and ease the transition back to community.

In particular, we welcome funding:

  • To help Victoria meets its obligations to people deprived of their liberty, through the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
  • To expand housing pathways for people leaving prison.
  • For mental health case management support for people leaving prison.
  • For case management support for people on community corrections orders who have high and complex circumstances.
  • To provide integrated, specialist care for people living with mental illness and addiction.
  • To implement Victoria’s spent convictions scheme.
  • For a public health response to public drunkenness.
  • To increase the court system’s capacity to process a backlog of cases accumulated during COVID-19.

In addition, we welcome commitments to infrastructure and construction projects creating jobs in Victoria. Under the Victorian Government’s Social Procurement Framework, businesses that contract with the government must abide by a number of social and sustainable procurement goals, including employing people from disadvantaged backgrounds—which can include people leaving the criminal justice system.

The criminal justice system is often the endpoint for people whose problems have not been addressed in the community. Support for these people to stay in good health, access work and training, and secure stable housing is important to keep people on track towards building new lives and staying out of contact with the criminal justice system.

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