Making the world a better place for people and animals is no easy feat, but the dedicated teams behind Justice Reinvestment Australia and the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) have achieved just that.
Justice Reinvestment Australia
With Australian prisons packed to the rafters and courts struggling to deal with an ever increasing workload, it is clear that our criminal justice system is in dire need of reform.
Justice Reinvestment is an organisation which aims to turn high-risk individuals away from the criminal justice system by investing in support services in disadvantaged communities – such as education, employment, health services and housing.
It was inspired by a similar program that achieved great success in Texas; where Justice Reinvestment worked to drive funding away from the prison system and towards public housing and other support services.
The organisation is particularly focussed on addressing the high rates of imprisonment in the Indigenous community – who represent just 2.2% of the total population but make up over 50% of young people held in custody.
It recognises that high rates of incarceration have an enormous social and economic cost to the community – costing the taxpayer $237,250 to keep a single young person locked up each year.
Research has shown that locking up marginalised and disadvantaged people does little to turn them away from a life of crime – rather, imprisonment reduces the chance that they will become gainful members of society.
Justice Reinvestment believes that money is best spent on developing long-term solutions to address the underlying reasons behind criminal activity, while strengthening ties within disadvantaged communities.
Thus far, Justice Reinvestment initiatives have proven successful in the country towns of Bourke and Cowra, which are both known to have high crime rates.
The team behind Justice Reinvestment hopes that the initial success will inspire policy makers to implement similar programs across the country in order to reduce incarceration rates once and for all.
The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
Animals are supposed to roam free and enjoy the wilderness – but sadly, some are cruelly held captive and made to perform tricks for human entertainment.
The Performing Animal Welfare Society is dedicated to rescuing and protecting animals abused and abandoned whilst in captivity. On top of this, the organisation promotes higher standards of living and care for zoo animals, and also preserves wild species and their habitats.
PAWS currently operates three sanctuaries in Northern California, which are home to a range of beautiful and exotic animals such as elephants, lions, bears, tigers, deer and even emus which have been freed from a life behind bars.
Over the years, the organisation has saved hundreds of animals from horrendous conditions.
One success story is that of Mara, an African Elephant who was shipped from Africa to the United States after her mother was killed by the government. Upon arrival in the states, Mara was flagged to be sold to the circus, where she would have been deprived of her natural habitat and made to perform tricks for human enjoyment. Thankfully, PAWS was able to step in and transported Mara to one of their sanctuaries, where she currently enjoys a custom-built habitat and access to proper veterinary care.
The happy end to Mara’s story is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the PAWS team, who have helped to turn the lives around of many animals.
How Can I Help?
Sydney Criminal Lawyers Help Fund is proud to donate $500 to each of these worthwhile charities.
To help keep kids out of prison by giving them the support they need, you can donate to Justice Reinvestment here.
To support PAWS, donate here on their website. For a small annual fee, you can even ‘adopt’ an animal!