CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
The levels and effects of criminal activity within the community and the perceptions that people hold of their safety are issues that impact directly on the quality of people's lives. The criminal justice system is society's formal response to crime. Key functions of the criminal justice system include administering justice, preventing crime and promoting personal and community safety, including maintaining confidence in law and order.
A key policy driver in the area of crime and justice is the need for effective and efficient administration of justice. Australian states and territories are primarily responsible for the direct provision of services, such as dealing with offenders via the criminal justice system through the administration of state and territory laws and correctional services.
Criminal justice statistical information is useful to decision-making, research, policy development and implementation in the criminal justice field, as well as the community as a whole. The availability of nationally comparable data that cover the criminal justice system is critical in providing an evidence base to benchmark and analyse the relative effectiveness and efficiencies of the system. This information is a critical factor in developing and evaluating responses to crime, establishing whether different responses are required for different population groups, determining best practice and developing strategies to enhance community safety.
Nationally comparable data can provide an evidence base to address key policy questions such as:
- What is the prevalence of crime in Australian society?
- How effective is the criminal justice system as a whole in reducing crime?
- What are the characteristics of the victims and offenders who come into contact with the criminal justice system?
- What are the characteristics of vulnerable groups in Australian society?
- How many offenders return to the system? Who are they?