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More crime remedies needed: judge

WA Chief Justice Wayne Martin wants more residential alcohol rehabilitation centres opened in WA to provide sentencing options for magistrates and judges.

In an interview for _The Weekend West _, Justice Martin urged the Government to pursue more "justice reinvestment" options to reduce crime by targeting substance abuse, mental health, juveniles, jail programs and Aboriginal disadvantage.

He said the Government could "profitably get bang for your buck" by diverting more non-violent offenders away from jail and focusing on effective solutions to social disadvantage.

The State's top judge said it made economic sense to divert some offenders to rehabilitation instead of jail but there were not enough places and centres in WA.

A National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee report found the financial saving from a diversion to residential rehabilitation compared with prison was $111,458 per offender.

"Drugs are a serious problem but for its quantum of the effect on the criminal justice system, alcohol is a much bigger problem," Justice Martin said.

"There are very few residential alcohol programs."

Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said though access to rehabilitation services was "adequate", significant demand meant a possible waiting list to get in.

WA has 11 residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation services for people who enter voluntarily or those diverted from courts.

The Drug and Alcohol Office was also working with the Aboriginal community towards a residential treatment service for Aboriginal people from southern WA.

The Commonwealth had also funded a service being built in South Hedland.