Justice, artist unknown, BAHN community art display 2011

Evaluating the cost of community justice 

The Australian Institute of Criminology put the effectiveness and cost benefits of the Neighbourhood Justice Centre's community justice model under the microscope. 

The Institutes's sought to establish a cost modelling framework for community justice, and a review of the impact of the NJC's community justice approach on crime in the City of Yarra.

The AIC found:

  • 76.9% of NJC’s clients on CBOs successfully completed their orders, compared to the state average rate of 40.1%
  • 22% of offenders on NJC-imposed CBOs classified as high risk, compared to the state average of 12%.

And the AIC found that NJC clients were:

  • significantly less likely to reoffend in the two years after sentencing, when compared with matched controls (Ross, 2015).

The AIC compared the cost of criminal matters conducted here at $58 per matter more expense than ‘mainstream’ courts, it found that the centre:  

  • bears a number of operational costs alone 
  • has outstanding compliance and recidivism rates
  • 44% matters last more than 15 minutes (the state-wide was 18%)
  • breadth of services is wider than CISP and 3% cheaper 

The AIC concluded that these achievements justify costs.  

The AIC's research provides a foundation for a more discussion of the costs associated with the community justice model.

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