The Justice Assurance and Review Office (JARO) drives continuous improvement in Victoria’s critical justice systems; making the systems better for the community, staff and people held within and visiting the justice facilities.
The business unit operates as an internal assurance and review function to advise the Secretary of the Department of Justice and Community Safety (the department) on ways to achieve higher performing, safer and more secure youth justice and adult corrections systems.
JARO provides the Secretary with current, objective information on areas of risk, the adequacy of existing controls and opportunities for improvement in the performance of youth justice precincts, youth justice community services, prisons, Community Correctional Services and prisoner transport services.
JARO is objective, impartial, fair and honest in all our dealings with stakeholders
JARO is an internal business unit within the department. It is separate and independent from the department’s Youth Justice and Corrections and Justice Services groups, which includes Corrections Victoria, Justice Health and Justice Services business units.
JARO liaises with:
Assurance in an objective, non-judgemental and evidence-based approach
JARO acts as an additional line of defence against emerging risk within the youth justice and adult corrections systems. JARO provides unique perspectives and insights into what is happening in critical justice systems.
To maintain independence and avoid conflicts of interest, JARO staff are not involved in:
- front line operations (such as youth justice facilities, the Youth Justice Support Service, correctional centres and Community Correctional Services)
- supervisory functions (Youth Justice and Corrections Victoria).
The office strives to be objective and non-judgemental, and for our advice to be evidence-based. We use sound analytical techniques to gather and test evidence.
JARO’s role complements the external independent oversight functions provided by the:
JARO conducts impartial reviews, monitoring and analysis into areas of risk and significant incidents within the youth justice and adult corrections systems. The office adopts a continuous improvement approach when finding new opportunities and improvements to these systems. Due to the sensitivity of the information, reports are provided directly to the Secretary and relevant senior stakeholders for consideration.
Internal reviews may be focused upon:
- themes: by exploring current or future risks facing Victoria’s critical justice systems, JARO can proactively advise on preparing the systems to better survive, adapt and thrive in the face of future challenges. JARO engages with stakeholders and subject matter experts for advice on procedures and practices, as well as comparing, where relevant, current practices and procedures interstate and overseas
- incidents: JARO looks into the circumstances and management of critical incidents and associated risks. JARO reflects on critical events that have taken place in the past in a way that can effectively inform the future. JARO identifies systemic risks, considers adequacy of existing controls and the incident response as well as identifies opportunities to improve the consequences for similar future incidents
- death: JARO looks into the circumstances and management of deaths in custody and parolee deaths that occur within three months of release. At the request of the Coroner, JARO also looks into other death events to help determine the facts and circumstances relating to a death and, where appropriate, to make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.
Other JARO responsibilities
JARO also administers the Independent Prison Visitor Scheme (External link), on behalf of the Minister for Corrections. The scheme engages volunteers to provide independent advice to the Minister for Corrections about the operations of Victoria’s prison system from a community perspective.