Community Justice Group Program

About the program

Community Justice Groups (CJGs) currently operate in over 40 communities throughout Queensland. CJGs are non- government organisations. In some communities these CJGs have been operating for over a decade, providing practical support to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people coming into contact with Queensland’s justice system. In some communities, CJGs also play an advisory role in Alcohol Management Plans.

CJGs were first introduced in Queensland in 1993 under a pilot program designed to address key recommendations following the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The pilot program was later expanded to a state-wide program underpinned by the goal of reducing the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system.

The program provides grant funding to CJGs. The grant includes funding to employ a CJG Coordinator who assists the CJG members (local Elders and Respected Persons) to deliver the justice-related services within their community.

Role of a CJG

CJGs are run by members of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and provide a community-based response to local issues, working cooperatively with magistrates, police, corrective services personnel and staff from other government agencies and community organisations. CJGs adopt a person-centred approach to addressing crime and justice-related issues in their community utilising cultural leadership and capability to contribute to whole of system outcomes.

CJG service delivery

CJGs deliver a number of core, court related activities including:

  • preparation of bail and sentence submissions to the court
  • attending court sittings
  • supporting victims and offenders through the court process
  • referring victims and offenders to support and legal services;
  • providing cultural advice and community input on justice related issues and
  • supporting the operation of Murri Courts.

CJGs also deliver a range of other services within their communities aimed at reducing crime, addressing recidivism and promoting community wellbeing and healing. Examples of these services are crisis support, home visits, transportation, parenting programs, after-school and holiday programs, custody visits, men’s and women’s groups, yarning circles, on-country healing programs and other supports for clients transitioning from custody to back into community.

CJGs deliver or contribute to the following programs:

Locations of CJGs

CJGs currently operate in 40 communities throughout Queensland:

Aurukun      Kowanyama Palm Island
Bayside (Cleveland and Wynnum) Kuranda Pormpuraaw
Brisbane Lockhart River Richlands
Caboolture Logan Rockhampton
Cairns Mackay St George
Cherbourg Mapoon Tablelands
Cloncurry Maroochydore Thursday Island
Coen Maryborough Toowoomba
Cunnamulla Mornington Island Townsville
Doomadgee Mossman Woorabinda
Goondiwindi Mount Isa Wujal Wujal
Hervey Bay Napranum Yarrabah
Hope Vale Normanton  
Ipswich NPA (Northern Peninsula Area)  

CJGs also operate on 10 of the outer islands of the Torres Strait to support circuiting Magistrates Court:

Badu (Mulgrave) Island Mabuiag Island Saibai Island
Boigu (Talbot) Island Masig (Yorke) Island Warraber (Sue) Island
Erub (Darnley) Island Mer (Murray) Island  
Iama (Yam) Island Moa (Kubin Village and St Pauls Community Island) Island

A Framework for Stronger CJGs

The Framework for Stronger Community Justice Groups (PDF, 5.9 MB) (the framework) outlines the role of CJGs within their communities and the common challenges faced by CJGs. It also presents a refocused model for the CJG program recognising the breadth of their service delivery.

The framework outlines how government agencies will enable CJGs to deliver justice-related outcomes in their communities. The framework aims to help government agencies to identify ways of working together to acknowledge, remunerate and support the work of CJGs.