Aboriginal incarceration figures a growing shame

Today’s BOCSAR release on Aboriginal incarceration in NSW shows a system in growing crisis, where Aboriginal people consistently fare worse than they have in the past.

The report shows that more Aboriginal people are facing our courts, and a greater percentage of those facing court are receiving a custodial sentence. Time in custody is also increasing and a significant driver of this is the ongoing District Court backlog.

Greens MP and Aboriginal Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“When almost one in four Aboriginal people can expect to find themselves in jail this is proof the criminal justice system is broken and appallingly damaging.

“Every time the Coalition Premier and Labor opposition demand tougher laws and longer sentences remember this, the first and and harshest impact will be on our first peoples.

“The Coalition has been directly responsible for much of this increase through brutal bail laws and under-resourced courts that leave hundreds of Aboriginal people in jail awaiting trial.

“Pretty much the only answer Premier Berejiklian has to this crisis is to build more and bigger jails. This isn’t the answer in fact it’s the very problem

“At a time of record surplus this Government is making deliberate choices to invest in locking up people in this state, rather than working to lift them up and help them on their way.

“NAIDOC week has just ended, but the challenges facing Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system are ongoing, and we need this Government to step away from business as usual, and make a commitment to closing the justice gap,” Mr Shoebridge said.

The report is available here: http://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Documents/BB/Report-2017-Indigenous-Imprisonment-in-NSW-BB126.pdf

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