This submission is made in response to the invitation by the National Justice CEOs Group, Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG), to make written submissions on the questions presented in its Discussion Paper on ‘National Guidelines or Principles for Restorative Justice Programs and Processes for Criminal Matters’. The Discussion Paper was released in March 2011 and is available at: http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/SCAG/ll_scag.nsf/pages/scag_natrestorativejustice
The justice system is currently failing Aboriginal peoples in WA, demonstrated through increasing rates of offending and reoffending especially in relation to serious offences. Restorative justice programs provide alternatives that are better suited to respond to and overcome sensitive social issues surrounding the nature of offending in Aboriginal communities. In particular these types of programs can provide more meaningful processes and outcomes for both victims and offenders to actually overcome offending behaviour.
ALSWA notes that a range of restorative justice initiatives were strongly recommended in the recent report of the WA Community Development and Justice Standing Committee, ‘Making our prisons work’: An Inquiry into the efficiency and effectiveness of prisoner education, training and employment strategies.
ALSWA strongly supports culturally relevant restorative justice initiatives that are designed, developed and delivered in consultation and collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (Aboriginal peoples). These initiatives must respect, protect and promote the rights of Aboriginal peoples in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) and other relevant international laws and standards.