The Law Society of Western Australia welcomes today’s announcement that the Commonwealth Government will ask the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to inquire into the incarceration rate of Indigenous Australians.
Law Society President Elizabeth Needham said, “The Law Society has consistently advocated for governments to do more to address the appalling over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in our prison system. The announcement of the ALRC inquiry is a welcome development and a crucial first step in confronting an issue that frankly shames our nation.
“In the 25 years since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the rate of incarceration amongst Indigenous Australians has become worse, not better. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Western Australia has the highest rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment in the country, with 3,663.5 prisoners per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population.
“I commend and support comments made today by the Hon Wayne Martin AC, Chief Justice of Western Australia, who noted that there must be a focus on support and services to prevent our First Peoples from ending up in the justice system in the first place.
“The conclusions and recommendations that ultimately emerge from the ALRC’s inquiry must be followed by tangible actions on the part of governments and other stakeholders. It is vital that we invest in early intervention, prevention and diversion strategies to address the root causes of, offending, reoffending and cut imprisonment rates.”
– ENDS –
For comment please contact:
Media and Communications Officer
(08) 9324 8634