Criminal Justice Innovation Office

The Criminal Justice Innovation Office (CJIO) is a dedicated multidisciplinary office established to identify, implement and support initiatives to address the increasing imprisonment rate in Queensland.

The CJIO will drive outcomes for existing initiatives and deliver innovative projects that reduce demand on the criminal justice system. The CJIO will lead evidence-based policy making and advise government on criminal justice system priorities.

With advice from academic and criminal justice system experts, and backed by evidence-based policy, the CJIO will focus on innovative and long-term solutions to reforming the criminal justice system and improving community safety. The CJIO aims to modernise Queensland’s laws, reduce demand on courts and prisons, enhance diversionary programs and help break the cycle of reoffending.

Queensland Productivity Commission Inquiry

In September 2018, the Queensland Government directed the Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) to undertake an inquiry (the QPC Inquiry) into imprisonment and recidivism. The QPC conducted extensive consultation, including over 150 meetings with over 600 stakeholders, public forums and public hearings in a variety of locations around Queensland. The QPC released an issues paper and draft report.

In August 2019 the QPC provided the Queensland Government with its final report Inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism. The key findings of the QPC Inquiry included that:

  • despite declining crime rates, imprisonment rates in Queensland are increasing
  • imprisonment rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are high and growing
  • the rate of imprisonment of women is also growing
  • imprisonment is an expensive response to crime and directly costs the Queensland community almost 1 billion dollars annually
  • these matters are not unique to Queensland and reflect wider Australian trends.

The final report made 42 recommendations to reduce imprisonment and recidivism, improve outcomes, reduce costs, and keep communities safer.

Queensland Government response to the QPC Inquiry

Released in January 2020, the Queensland Government response (PDF) to the QPC Inquiry acknowledges there are multiple, complex causes of offending and that a number of wide-ranging responses are required in protecting communities from crime.

The CJIO is an integral part of the Queensland Government’s response to the QPC Inquiry that will consider innovative ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

The Queensland Government has committed $6 million to establish the multidisciplinary CJIO for 2 years until the end of 2024.

In addition to delivering on the Queensland Government’s response to the QPC Inquiry, the CJIO will work in partnership with the First Nations Justice Office to support the delivery of multiple recommendations from the Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce reports.

The CJIO will provide strategic leadership and oversight of the whole criminal justice system, ensuring evidence-based whole-of-government and whole-of-systems solutions are developed and implemented, avoiding a silo-based approach. This oversight responsibility for the CJIO delivers on recommendation 179 of Hear her voice – Report Two – Women and girls' experiences across the criminal justice system.

Find out more about the Queensland Government response to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce recommendations.

Our priorities

Working with partner organisations and a panel of academic and criminal justice system experts, the CJIO will deliver innovative evidence-based initiatives informed by data-led insights, including:

  • developing a ‘justice impact test’ with clear performance indicators and measures for evaluating reform initiatives
  • considering options to enhance the use of bail and remand for adults and children
  • implementing cross-agency interventions to address offending behaviour of children and young adults (16 to 25 years)
  • developing enhanced responses to illicit drug use
  • assessing current criminal offences to see if they are still appropriate and determining what impacts may result from potential changes to legislation
  • reviewing community-based sentencing options including the use of parole
  • implementing expanded drug diversion programs, focusing on early intervention and reducing demands on courts
  • reviewing the offence of public nuisance
  • exploring options for the sustainable expansion of adult restorative justice services.

Partner organisations

The CJIO acts as a centralised office that partners with external agencies to deliver innovative criminal justice reform. Partnering organisations include:

  • First Nations Justice Office
  • Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
  • Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council
  • Queensland Police Service
  • Queensland Corrective Services
  • Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs
  • Queensland Health
  • Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy
  • Department of Justice and Attorney-General
  • Queensland Treasury
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Community engagement

The CJIO will engage with the community to explain the evidence behind proposed initiatives and provide opportunities for the community to contribute to the reforms.

If you would like to register to receive the latest information on CJIO initiatives, please complete the following form.

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Contact us

If you would like to get in touch with the CJIO you can email or phone (07) 3738 7695. You can also follow CJIO updates on social media.