1. A Katherine solution to a Katherine problem

    A Katherine solution to a Katherine problem


    The Katherine community decided there must be another avenue - Thomason Opie from Katherine Youth Justice Reinvestment Group


This research project is intended to provide preliminary information to invest in a more comprehensive four-stage youth Justice Reinvestment process in Katherine. Justice Reinvestment (JR) is an internationally recognised approach that focuses on transforming justice services and systems to focus on prevention and early intervention with the intent of reducing incarceration. JR is a framework or methodology that seeks to tackle the rising rates of imprisonment through a community development approach: enabling local communities to identify and implement initiatives and strategies likely to have some impact on reducing incarceration. A key component of JR involves the diversion of a portion of correctional funding used to incarcerate people, to instead be spent inside that community to enact positive change – both in and out of the justice system.


This project provides baseline information to assist with stages 1 and 2 of the JR process, including:

  • collection and analysis of multiple local quantitative and qualitative data sources (including publicly available data, and de-identified administrative data held by relevant government agencies) 
  • the adoption of a collaborative community development approach, in partnership with local partners and stakeholders, to develop a business development strategy (including identification of funding sources and support with funding applications) aimed at sustaining the youth JR approach over subsequent years

This project produced a final report, complete with five compendium reports relating to:

  1. Social media depictions of youth in Katherine
  2. Social issues data, relating to general demographic information, early childhood, family life, housing, income and employment, education, health, and other data;
  3. Police data (not for public release)
  4. Corrections data (not for public release)
  5. Child protection data (not for public release) 

Some of this data is not able to be publicly released due to the sensitive nature. 

Implications for for policy and practice:

This project has identified potential economic, social and cultural ‘levers for change’ to support the local community to lead sustainable youth JR strategies. It is envisaged this project will inform the work of the Katherine Youth Justice Reinvestment Group's vision of redistributing justice investments in the town of Katherine communities away from punitive responses to offending, with a particular focus on reducing incarceration of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people aged 10-24 years.

Four different grant applications have been prepared and submitted across the course of this project. These proposals have primarily involved advancing to Stage 2 and early phases of Stage 3 of a JR approach in Katherine. The research team intends to remain involved in progress of Justice Reinvestment in Katherine and will continue to work with the community working group to obtain funding for this important work.

Chief Investigator:
Project inquiries:
  • Professor James Smith - Email 
Project dates:
  • March 2018 - May 2019