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Criminal Justice: An economic perspective

Commission research


Overall rates of crime in Australia have been falling. Yet, prisoner numbers have risen steeply in the past decade.

While prisons play an important role in protecting the Australian community, imprisonment is an expensive policy response to crime — it imposes large costs on Australian taxpayers and some of the consequential costs on those placed in prison (and their families) can continue long after they are released.

Objectives of the study

The Commission will develop an economic framework for examining the costs and benefits of imprisonment and alternative policy responses to crime.

The project will focus on the prison journey from when an offender is first charged - covering remand, imprisonment, rehabilitation, release and recidivism - and how the design of policies in the criminal justice system can affect incentives and imprisonment rates. It will draw on the empirical literature as well as insights from different approaches.

Expected release date

October 2021


Jane Melanie 02 6240 3360