Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2017) . . Page.. 2920 ..
territory to have the expertise of Her Honour Chief Justice Murrell, who was the founding judge of the New South Wales Drug Court. The working group was established by the Chief Justice and comprises judges and experts in health, corrective services and policy.
The working group has already been visiting drug courts in New South Wales and heard presentations from experts in Victoria. It has already met to discuss the scope, and the needs particular to Canberra.
This budget will provide even more support for the ACT to study models in other jurisdictions, survey the available evidence and deliver a drug court that achieves great positive outcomes for the territory.
MS CHEYNE: Minister, what are the ways that a drug and alcohol court will support rehabilitation?
MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Cheyne for the supplementary question. A drug and alcohol court is meant to help people whose crimes are primarily the result of addiction. Drug and alcohol courts are a form of therapeutic justice. Therapeutic justice is focused on how to help people live better lives as fully participating members of society. This means having a criminal justice process that is solution focused and measured by how it changes future behaviour.
In a 2012 presentation on therapeutic justice, Her Honour Chief Justice Murrell identified common sense, some appreciation of the psychology of behaviour and an ability to communicate and behave in appropriate ways as the key ingredients for judges and lawyers to participate in a solution-focused court.
The new court will be designed to establish a relationship between the person who committed the crime, the presiding judge and health and social service providers. That relationship will, in turn, support offenders to overcome their dependency and leave the justice system with a better set of tools to participate in society.
It is important to recognise that this is not about diminishing responsibility for crime; this initiative is about reducing recidivism by encouraging offenders to recognise and address the causes of their behaviour. And it is about protecting our community and strengthening individual people and families in the process.
MS CODY: Minister, what did the evidence from other jurisdictions tell us about how effective drug courts are?
MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Cody for her supplementary question. The evidence is strong that if we provide the right support services to people with drug and alcohol problems at the right point in their contact with the judicial system we can address these dependencies and in turn build more resilient people, families and communities.
The drug and alcohol court is a fundamentally person-centred reform. It will be focused on individual cases. However, statistics from these courts tell us that they have community-wide impacts. A 2008 study of the New South Wales Drug Court