Beyond Bars: Toward Abolitionist Justice In Australia


  • Debbie Kilroy


This narrative examines the prevailing carceral system in Australia, with a specific focus on Queensland, Victoria, and the Northern Territory. Drawing on firsthand experiences and empirical data, the author challenges the efficacy of punitive measures and the proliferation of prisons as responses to social issues. Through case studies such as the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre in Victoria and Don Dale in the Northern Territory, the narrative underscores the disproportionate impact of incarceration on marginalised communities, particularly First Nations peoples and women. By interrogating the intersections of race, gender, and class within the criminal justice system, the narrative advocates for a paradigm shift towards abolitionist approaches. It explores alternatives to imprisonment, such as Participatory Defence, emphasising community empowerment and restorative justice principles. Ultimately, this narrative calls upon legal professionals and policymakers to engage in transformative justice practices and envision a future devoid of incarceration and punitive systems.

Author Biography

Debbie Kilroy

Debbie Kilroy, CEO/Sisters Inside; Kilroy & Callaghan Lawyers, lawyer, social worker, activist.