Justice Reform Initiatives


  1. Restorative Justice
  2. Norwegian Transformation


Justice Action has prepared a package of four research papers to change the culture of imprisonment. They represent a new paradigm of prisoner responsibility and empowerment dealing with the issues of recidivism and safe resettlement in the community. They propose that time in prison becomes a period of active development before release, and the rhetoric of corrective services becomes a reality rather than its accepted failure.

The draft papers follow international consultation with stakeholders and experts in the field. They have been personally distributed to almost all jurisdictions in the English-speaking world. We call on prison policy makers and administrators to respond to the ideas with the same constructive spirit that has been offered. 

The prison culture conditions people to become submissive waiting for time to pass. There is little opportunity or encouragement to change. For any cultural and personal change it is necessary to have an active strategy engaging prisoners, and constructively using the long periods they spend in their cells. These ideas are a fresh way for them to accept responsibility for their lives, and for the community to get the benefits.

Justice Action wants collaborative relationships with jurisdictions and the practical implementation of the recommendations, further research and amendment. The four papers can be accessed by the following links:

1. Restorative Justice

This research paper challenges the critical view of Restorative Justice currently portrayed in the media. We believe in its merits as a community-focused response to crime, which emphasises building social cohesion and reducing re-offending by encouraging prisoners to take responsibility for the effects of their behaviour. This paper analyses the effectiveness and rationale of the restorative justice system… read more.

2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

With the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), re-offending rates can drop by up to one third. The current national and international view is that such programs are the most successful and cost-effective means of rehabilitation. However, in practice CBT is under-utilised, and its scope is restricted to the final stage of a sentence. This paper proposes an on-going as well as community-based method for implementing CBT, providing positive and long-term effects… read more.

3. Remission

In response to the passivity of prisoners awaiting the expiration of their prison term, we have developed a research paper on Remission – a system that uses reductions in prison sentences as an incentive for good behaviour and self-improvement within prisons. By allowing prisoners to have some control of their own future, they develop a sense of responsibility and are given an incentive to serve their sentence productively with a mindset of moving forward. This paper analyses its use and success…read more.

4. Computers in Cells

Education is proven to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Computers in cells provide prisoners with the ability to participate in training and educational programs, as opposed to the inactivity and boredom generated by access to limited technology such as television. This paper has been adopted internationally but its implementation has been slow, despite agreement on all sides of politics that it is correct and overdue…read more.

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