Queensland Law Society

QLS calls for Royal Commission into appalling Indigenous incarceration rates

Date 01 Aug 2016
Contact Tony Keim
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society has called on the Federal Government to hold a Royal Commission into the appallingly high detention rates in Australia.

Society president Bill Potts said it was imperative the government hold a commission of inquiry now to address the “national shame” of Indigenous Australian “generations lost to the factories of despair.”

Mr Potts said the plight of detained Indigenous people was highlighted after the horrific abuse and torture of children – as graphically demonstrated in last week’s ABC Four Corner’s program – in the Northern Territory.

“It is 25-years since we held the commission of inquiry into Black Deaths in Custody  and the rates of incarceration of Indigenous first Australians is getting worse rather than better,” he said.

Queensland Government statistics reveal Indigenous people were almost 11 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to be in prison in Queensland at 30 June 2015.

The rate of imprisonment for Queensland Indigenous prisoners was 1,577.8 per 100,000 adult Indigenous population, compared with 148.5 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous adults.

“Indigenous people make up three per cent of our entire population, however, 30% of those incarcerated in Australia are Indigenous,” Mr Potts said.

“It is important that such a Royal Commission inquire into the causes of the incarceration rates including social, familial and economic reasons as well as practical process by which Indigenous people are dealt with both by the courts and corrective services.”

“Aspects of prevention and rehabilitation clearly need to be addressed.

“Whilst the causes will be complex so will be the solutions, but if we do not address this national shame in a coordinated and national approach we will lose generations of Indigenous people to the factories of despair.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, media@qls.com.au