Commentary of FFDLR on the Issues Paper: Restorative Justice for the ACT

Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform is grateful for the opportunity to comment on the issues paper, Restorative Justice for the ACT (Dept. of Justice & Community Safety, October 2003) prepared by the Restorative Justice Sub-Committee of the ACT Sentencing Review Committee. Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform is critical of the proposal because it does not address the most potent risk factors of crime of greatest community concern in the ACT – substance dependence and mental illness associated with substance dependence. The dynamic of re-integrative shaming that is of the essence of restorative justice has potential to motivate large change on the part of individuals. This potential needs to be harnessed by integrating conferencing with what is known about tackling risk factors associated with offending behaviour. Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform believes that the restorative justice conferencing as proposed in the issues paper is a squandered opportunity and cannot be justified in terms of the pressing need to resource effective measures in the ACT to reduce crime. The proposal needs to be substantially reworked in order to be worthwhile.

Commentary of FFDLR on Restorative Justice 2003