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Justice advocacy organisation Sisters Inside is urging the Palaszczuk Government to redirect its $42 million policing hotspot funding to existing successful community youth justice programs in the wake of its devastating bail breach backflip yesterday.

Sisters Inside CEO Debbie Kilroy OAM said Sisters Inside had solutions that had worked for decades. 

“Other grass roots organisations have solutions that have worked for decades,” Ms Kilroy said.

“Carceral strategies like criminalising breach of bail is netwidening the number of children being pipelined into the prison system.”

“This is a gross failure and the magnitude of its impacts will be felt for decades – this will only destroy lives.”

Ms Kilroy said the backflip by the Labor Government to criminalise breach of bail would prove to be one of the most misguided and ill-informed agendas.

“Decarceration programs are the solution. We do not need more cages,” Ms Kilroy said.

“This agenda is based on vigilantism, not cold hard facts about what works and what does not work – carceration programs for children do not work.”

“It is an emotional response to tragedy and is effectively trying to wipe out the decades of informed, data-based reforms that have actually been working in community.”

“The answer to community safety is to properly fund those programs.”

Ms Kilroy said it was time the Labor Government started listening to the experts working in youth justice.

“This policy agenda is playing politics with children’s lives,” she said.

“Introducing a policy in the spirit of bipartisanship when you know it is wrong and when you have already told the community it doesn’t work is both shocking and horrific.”

“Community safety is not about introducing measures that capitalise on a system that already targets First Nations children and young adults, it is about grass roots care and a commitment to supporting vulnerable, at risk children.”

Ms Kilroy said it was not too late for the government to fund transformative justice programs.

“We urge the government to start by redirecting the $42 million policing hotspot funding to the community solutions that have worked for decades,” Ms Kilroy said.

“We urge the Government to urgently sit down with representatives of organisations in community who have the solutions and create a safety net for vulnerable children to protect them from becoming part of this prison system,” Ms Kilroy said.

“We need to defund prisons and escalate funding for the strategies that work. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.”

“This Labor Government has devastatingly fallen into the trap of doing just that.”

Established in 1992, Sisters Inside is an independent community organisation, which advocates for the collective human rights of women and girls in prison, and their families and provides services to address their individual needs.

“Criminalisation is usually the outcome of repeated and intergenerational experiences of violence, poverty, homelessness, child removal and unemployment resulting in complex health issues and substance abuse,” Ms Kilroy said.

“First Nations women and girls are massively over-represented in prison due to the racism at the foundation of systems of social control.”

 Learn more about Sisters Inside here: sistersinside.com.au

Debbie Kilroy: 0419 762 474


How can you help?

The Sisters Inside Fund for Children supports children of women in the criminal justice system to choose their own future free of the burdens so commonly felt while their mother is in prison.

#Free Her Campaign

This campaign has been set up by Debbie Kilroy, CEO of Sisters Inside Inc.  The funds raised will be used to release people from prison and pay warrants so they are not imprisoned.