Inquiry into the high level of First Nations people in custody and oversight and review of deaths in custody

Submissions to the Inquiry can be made by this link.

Referred by Greens MP David Shoebridge, who is also Deputy Chair of the Inquiry. 

Terms of Reference: 

(a) the unacceptably high level of First Nations people in custody in New South Wales, 

(b) the suitability of the oversight bodies tasked with inquiries into deaths in custody in New South Wales, with reference to the Inspector of Custodial Services, the NSW Ombudsman, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Corrective Services professional standards, the NSW Coroner and any other oversight body that could undertake such oversight, 

(c) the oversight functions performed by various State bodies in relation to reviewing all deaths in custody, any overlaps in the functions and the funding of those bodies, 

(d) how those functions should be undertaken and what structures are appropriate, 

Submissions close 24 August 2020 

Submissions to the Inquiry can be made by this link.

If you have questions about confidentiality or the operation of the inquiry please contact the Secretariat on 9230 2620 or [email protected] 

Some suggested points to raise: 

  • Overpolicing of Aboriginal communities is an ongoing problem, and leads to high levels of unnecessary contact with the criminal justice system. Aboriginal young people are targeted for just hanging out in parks or in shopping centres and face serious penalties for offences which their non-Aboriginal peers would receive only a warning. All of this contributes to overrepresentation of First Nations people in prisons.  
  • Families deserve to know that if their loved one dies in prison they will be heard and a proper independent investigation will occur – including inspection of where their family member died, interviews of all witnesses including fellow inmates, and that they will be told of the progress of this inquiry. 
  • Independent oversight is needed of all Aboriginal deaths in custody to ensure those responsible face justice. Not a single police officer or prison officer has ever been held responsible for a single one of the more than 435 deaths in custody since the Royal Commission, or the thousands of deaths before that time.