JA has continually supported the rights and welfare of prisoners, mental health patients and their families as an expression of the prisoner community in Australia. JA has also contributed to the safety of the wider community. The organisation’s activities have addressed a wide range of areas such as health, education with an emphasis on assisting marginalised groups such as women, youth and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Some of JA’s achievements are as follows:
- Represented the twelve prisoners whose reduced security classifications due to good behaviour were to be altered by the NSW Corrective Services proposal that all 'lifers' should have their security classifications fixed at maximum (2015).
- Represented all Australians held against their will at the 2009 Consultation for the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) Treaty.
- Hosted the defence of those accused of the Hilton Hotel bombing and employed the coordinator of the successful Anderson, Dunn and Alister Campaign.
- Presented four justice reform research papers on restorative justice, cognitive behaviour therapy, remissions and computers in cells at ICOPA 14 (2012) in Trinidad.
- Defended the rights of children to maintain their all-day visits to their mothers at the Emu Plains Correctional Centre.
- Defended the right of prisoners to vote in the Senate in 1997 and again in 2006.
- Worked with Women Behind Bars to successfully change the law on provocation in domestic violence murder cases, around the Bruce and Violet Roberts Blockade.
- Successfully defended Saeed Dezfouli’s right to education while at a forensic hospital.
- Initiated ex-prisoner Richard Lynott's case against the Government for negligence due to their failure to supply clean needles and syringes in prison, causing his death.
- Initiated a campaign for mental health patients in Long Bay Correctional Complex to not be locked in cells for 18 hours a day rather than 12, as a cost saving measure.
- Facilitated the creation of the Australian Prisoners Union in 1999.
- Led a consultation with prisoners in the two largest prisons in NSW before the Drug Summit in May 1999. JA also led a consultation with New Zealand prisoners on the privatisation of prisons before the Inquiry by the NSW Law and Order Select Committee in July 2009 and in the ACT prison on a NSP in 2011.
- Distributes Just Us, the detainees’ newspaper nationally in all prisons in all states and territories and to all judges and politicians in Australia for many years.
- Worked with Mission Australia to conduct a series of mentoring workshops for many young people in the Campbelltown/Hornsby area of Sydney, who have been identified as being at risk of becoming offenders.
- In conjunction with TAFE, created a community mentoring course with special modules to address the needs of those in tension with the law. The 22 graduates were mainly ex-prisoners.
- Initiated the computer project, which had over 100 computers donated to prisons from the corporate and community.
- Lobbied for the Wood Royal Commission and brought evidence on numerous issues including wrongful convictions and followed for case reviews.
- After the Nagle Royal Commission exposures and government inaction, ran a private prosecution against 10 Grafton and Bathurst prison officers and a doctor for 4 months working with law students and 32 prisoner witnesses.