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Thirty years wasted?

In 1991, the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was handed down. The nearly three decades since have seen little to no practical change.

The incarceration rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has almost doubled. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children remain eight times more likely than other children to enter out of home care by the age of five. They are 16 times more likely than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to have contact with both the child protection and criminal justice systems. The outcome is no better for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are more than 21 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous women.

In its submission to the NSW First Nations people in custody inquiry, the Western NSW Community Legal Centre and its domestic violence unit – Western Women’s Legal Support – make 14 recommendations and calls for an end to over-policing and a shift in focus towards intervention, diversion and rehabilitation.

The submission highlights the failure of bail laws, the lack of cultural support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples engaged in the criminal justice system the closure of culturally appropriate prisons, and the lack of appropriate oversight of Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Read the complete submission on the High Level of First Nations People in Custody and Oversight and Review of Deaths in Custody.

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