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The 3rd National Outlook Symposium on Crime in Australia - Mapping the Boundaries of Australia's Criminal Justice System

Media Release

16 March 1999

The lines between the various criminal justice agencies - government and non-government, are forever changing, and responsibilities for law enforcement and determination of sanctions for crimes are being shared more and more.

The 3rd National Outlook Symposium on Crime in Australia will bring together leading Australian and international criminal justice practitioners, researchers and policy makers to discuss how the boundaries of Australia's criminal justice system affect the well-being and safety of our community.

Following is a preview of key speakers' papers on the major themes:

  • National outlook on criminal justice in Australia

  • A whole of government approach to crime prevention is hindered by departmental and agency core business. Much of the discussion on crime is poorly informed. We need to focus on quality evidence-based crime reduction strategies. Dr Adam Graycar, Director, Australian Institute of Criminology.
  • Boundaries within the criminal justice system - balancing independence and integration

  • Australia needs a more integrated approach to policy development and resource allocation across the three elements in our criminal justice system - police, courts and corrections - while maintaining appropriate jurisdictional independence. Barry Apsey, CEO, Queensland Corrective Services Commission.
  • While police and prosecutors must maintain their independence, their roles are interconnected and it is necessary to recognise that they must also work together. Grahame Delaney, Commonwealth DPP Office.
  • The separate elements of the criminal justice system work in their own territorial boundaries. We need to improve coordination, effectiveness and accountability, and focus on broader community outcomes. Laurie Glanfield, Director-General, Attorney-Generals Department.
  • Policing faces constrained resources and growing demand in an increasingly sophisticated environment. To succeed it must develop responsive, flexible agencies, and establish valuable partnerships. Mal Hyde, SA Police Commissioner.
  • Boundaries with other agencies - improving partnerships

  • Improved partnerships between governments and the community are needed to provide a better response for women subjected to domestic violence. Pru Goward, Director, Office of the Status of Women.
  • Focusing on community empowerment and early intervention at crucial transition points for children and adolescents is a more valuable crime prevention tool than the traditional approach. Prof. Ross Homel, Griffith University.
  • No review of Australian prisoners' mental health services has ever been conducted. There are wide jurisdictional variations in services and legislation. A broad-based mental health service for prisoners and other offenders is needed. Dr William Lucas, Forensic Psychiatrist.
  • Commonwealth/State boundaries in crime and justice - sharing responsibility

  • Parochial responses to national problems have resulted in costly and inefficient law enforcement and judicial structures. The start of a new century provides an ideal opportunity to address the fact that criminals do not respect State boundaries. John Broome, Chair, National Crime Authority.
  • Partnerships between Commonwealth, State and Local Government, and the community is critical in meeting the shared responsibilities for safety and security issues. Kevin Prince MLA, WA Minister for Police and Emergency Services.
  • Boundaries between the public and private sector - contracting out

  • Both the public and private sectors are facing increasing challenges to their traditional means of controlling crime. Cooperation between the sectors is vital if we are to reverse this trend. Elizabeth Montano, Director, AUSTRAC.
  • Contractualism and privatisation are now integral elements of Victoria's justice system. While the signs are positive, the changes have required a fundamental policy rethink in accountability, risk management, regulation and performance monitoring. Peter Harmsworth, Secretary, Victorian Department of Justice.
  • Transcending the boundaries - challenges of the new millennium

  • There are grounds for optimism that restorative justice processes may be more effective than court in preventing crime. Restorative justice breaks free of the boundaries of the conventional criminal justice system and can even be considered a global crime prevention tool. Prof. John Braithwaite, ANU.
  • What will society's response be to crime in 2020? Transformed police services? Private and non-profit crime control institutions? What will the trade offs between personal safety and individual freedom be? Dr Peter Grabosky, Australian Institute of Criminology.
  • When undertaking policy research, barriers often arise between policy planners and researchers. An open and integrative approach will break down barriers and enhance the criminological endeavour. Dr Sally Hillsman, Deputy Director, US National Institute of Justice.

The National Symposium on Crime in Australia is being held at The Rydges Hotel, Canberra, 22-23 March.