Justice Action

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Justice Action
Logo of Justice Action.png
Founded1979 (1979)
TypeCommunity organisation
FocusPrison reform, Criminal Justice, Mental health
  • Trades Hall, Suite 204, 4 Goulburn St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia.
Area served
Formerly called
Prisoner Action

Justice Action is a not-for-profit community organisation based in Sydney, Australia. Justice Action focuses on abuses of authority in the criminal justice and mental health systems in Australia. Founded in 1979 as Prisoner Action, Justice Action is independent of the Australian government and is funded by voluntary donations and the work of the social enterprise, Breakout Media Communications.[1][2] Justice Action's coordinator is Brett Collins,[3][4] an ex-prisoner who began with the organisation in 1979 as co-founder. Alongside Brett, Justice Action is run by a team of interns who are university students in law and other degrees.

Campaigns and activities[edit]

In operation since 1979, Justice Action is one of the oldest independent prisoners' rights and advocacy services in Australia, and has had a significant impact on the development of criminal justice policy in Australia. It led the creation of various other agencies and organisations, including the Prisoners Legal Service in 1979, following the Nagle Royal Commission into New South Wales Prisons, and the Australian Prisoners Union in 1999.

Justice Action provides ongoing support to prisoners and involuntary mental health patients on a case-by-case basis, with an emphasis on cases that deal with issues of abuse, mistreatment or human rights. Justice Action has mounted recent high-profile campaigns on prison education and access to computers in cells, visitation rights for women prisoners, the prisoners' right to vote,[5] the potential of a prison-based Needle Syringe Program,[6] and the right of involuntary mental health patients to access educational programs, and make decisions concerning their treatment.

Justice Action is regularly invited to attend and present at conferences in Australia and internationally on issues of prison reform, prisoners' rights, and mental health policy.[7][8][9]

As a community organisation focused on human rights issues in the justice and mental health sector, Justice Action works with partners nationally and internationally to share information, research, coordinate and conduct campaigns. In Australia, Justice Action works on campaigns in conjunction with other community groups and industry peak-bodies such as the New South Wales Council of Social Services,[10] the New South Wales Teachers Federation,[11] and is a member of the Community Justice Coalition,[12] an Australian community coalition focused on reform in the Justice and Prison Systems. Internationally, the organisation is a member of the International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA), a bi-annual international conference for activists and academics, which Justice Action hosted in 2006 for ICOPA 11 Tasmania.[13][14][15]


Justice Action publishes research and policy papers on issues related to criminal justice reform and mental health policy.[16]

Until 2004 the organisation published a newspaper entitled Framed. Framed was published quarterly for 44 issues and was Australia's only inmate's newspaper.[17] The newspaper was composed of edited contributions from serving Australian prisoners and was distributed to prisons Australia-wide. In 2002, Framed was banned for distribution in New South Wales (NSW) Prisons by Corrective Services NSW, after it claimed the content of Framed would create "disharmony and conflict" within the prison.[18]

In 2012, Justice Action published research papers on Restorative Justice, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Remission, and Computers in Cells which were launched at ICOPA 14 in Trinidad and Tobago.[19][failed verification]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Breakout Media Communications – About". Breakout Media Communications. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Justice Action – About". Justice Action. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  3. ^ "CJC Signatories – Brett Collins profile". Community Justice Coalition.
  4. ^ "Brett Collins – Profile". London: Guardian Newspaper. 25 July 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  5. ^ Prisoners as Citizens: Human Rights in Australian Prisons. Edited by David Brown, Meredith Wilkie – Federation Press. 2002. ISBN 9781862874244. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Human rights developments". Human Rights Law Centre. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Justice Action Paper presented at the 4th National Outlook Symposium on Crime in Australia, convened by the Australian Institute of Criminology and held in Canberra 21–22 June 2001" (PDF). Australian Institute of Criminology. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Conference Program – Our Prisons – Human Rights, Mental Health & Privatisation hosted by the" (PDF). Community Justice Coalition and the International Commission of Jurists (Australia). Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  9. ^ "PHAA National Social Inclusion and Complex Needs Conference, 15–16 April, 2013" (PDF). ublic Health Association of Australia. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  10. ^ "NSW Government legislates to allow human rights abuses in juvenile detention". New South Wales Council of Social Services. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Education Beats Crime Every Day – Changing the debate in the law and order auction" (PDF). Australasian Corrections Education Association. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Community Justice Coalition – Member Organisations". Community Justice Coalition. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Brett Collins profile". Community Justice Coalition. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  14. ^ "ICOPA XI February 2006 Papers & Briefs – Hobart, Tasmania". Justice Action. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  15. ^ "ICOPA X1 International Conference On Penal Abolition". Justice Action. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Inside Time Down Under". Inside Time. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  17. ^ "Framed". Justice Action. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  18. ^ "'Provocative' prisoners' journal banned". Stephen Gibbs – Sydney Morning Herald. 27 December 2002. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Inside Time Down Under – Interview with Brett Collins". Inside Time. Retrieved 30 April 2013.

External links[edit]