Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults make up around 2% of the national population, they constitute 27% of the national prison population. These 3 say that can be changed Let us tell of a human catastrophe: of 120,000 First Nations people having been to gaol and that, as soon as 2025, Australia is looking at one in two of its prison population comprised of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders. This is not the Canada I grew up in. IA punches above its weight. As a result, Aboriginal women in corrections do not get paroled early if at all. Imagine the devastating psychosocial impacts on families and communities not just presently but for generations unborn. Aboriginal incarceration in context. One of the main reasons the Indigenous incarceration rate is 13 times higher than non-Indigenous Australians is because a greater proportion of Indigenous Australians live in these low socio-economic, welfare-dependent suburbs or communities than other Australians. I commend the Correctional Investigator for drawing attention to these issues. But we need your help. To reduce soaring Aboriginal prison rates it is essential to invest in psycho-social healing, counselling, empowerment, education and rehabilitation.. As with many programs designed to 'cure' Aboriginal issues, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Privacy Policy. Sentenced prisoners increased by 2% from 276 to 281, and unsentenced prisoners decreased by 13% (24) to 166. With more than 700,000 Australians identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, more than one in seven have been to prison. Their mental health deteriorates. Around half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prison entrants link their offending to alcohol and/or substance misuse.16 18. More likely to return to prison on revocation of parole, often for administrative reasons, not criminal violations. The further west we journey across this continent, the worse the statistical narratives, the worse the hits on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the higher the homeless rates, the more acute the poverty, the worse the destructive behaviours, the sense of hopelessness, the depressions and clinical disorders, the higher the premature and unnatural death and suicide rates. Join the IA newsletter for regular updates on our latest news stories. It contains news and opinion from Australia and around the world. You can follow Gerry on Twitter @GerryGeorgatos. Tackle causes of incarceration now or see Indigenous people make up majority of inmates by 2025 "What is little known is that one in nine of Aboriginal … There are three related reasons: over-policing; under-policing; and the general absence of a community policing model in Indigenous communities. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. The high rate of incarceration for Aboriginal peoples has been linked to systemic discrimination and attitudes based on racial or cultural prejudice, as well as economic and social disadvantage, substance abuse and intergenerational loss, violence and trauma. The rate has increased 25 per cent for non-Aboriginal people. Nationally, one in seven Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders have been to prison, one in three of those who live below the poverty line. These are women scarred by generations of neglect, abuse, and systemic discrimination. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has described the imprisonment rates of Indigenous women as a national disgrace. While the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) has reduced Canada’s overall youth incarceration rate in recent years, the relative proportion of detained Aboriginal youth has actually increased. I think most Canadians are proud of Canada's reputation for respecting the rights of others. The increase in impoverished Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander females is alarming. Anyone who has visited countries less fortunate would probably agree it's a reputation that is richly deserved. Aboriginal women are the most vulnerable among this vulnerable group. The Canadian Human Rights Act is one outcome of this endeavour. On average,10,558 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are in prison each day, which is an increase of 7 per cent since the number was calculated at the same time in 2015. And that number is climbing. The increase is most alarming in New South Wales and South Australia. “Despite making up 3% of the population, First Peoples comprise 27% of the nation’s prison population, making Australia’s Indigenous incarceration rates the worst in the world.” https://t.co/6EOr1GQMsk. They are ten times more likely than anyone else to end up in jail. Nearly 25% of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders live remotely. It estimates the costs of Indigenous incarceration and the Since the release of his report, Mr. Sapers has expressed concern that his calls for action are falling on deaf ears. In 2016, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people constituted just 2% of the Australian adult population but comprised more than one quarter (27%) of the national adult prison population. It was driven by the determination of a wide cross-section of Canadians to build a society free of the kind of racial, ethnic and other barriers that are at the root of so much misery on the planet. More than 30% of inmates in Canadian prisons are Indigenous – even though aboriginal people make up just 5% of the country’s population, according … This crisis is especially profound in the youth context. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 80% of the national prison population has not completed secondary schooling, while nearly 100% of the national prison population comprising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders has not completed secondary schooling. Curfew Starting This Weekend, Vacationers Won’t Have Access To New $1K Sick-Leave Benefit: Trudeau, The COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Plans For Every Province And Territory, Watch: The Most Doug Ford Moments Of 2020, Our Great Canadian Guide To Buying Local For 2020, B.C. One of the key themes of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was that imprisonment should be a sanction of last resort.5 Although this principle is enshrined in legislation in most states, it is highly questionable whether it is followed in practice. Reasons for high Indigenous imprisonment rates Introduction. One in five Western Australian and Northern Territorian Aboriginal peoples have been to prison. http://t.co/mkI5ymsVnP  pic.twitter.com/ta68Z0gH4U. The condition of female Aboriginal inmates with mental illness is of particular concern. From a racialised lens this is the world’s highest gaoling rate. Personally, I find it shocking that close to one in four inmates in the federal correctional system is an Aboriginal person. The choice has been made to remove children at devastating rates rather than to invest everything possible into lifting their families out of poverty. Why Are There So Many Aboriginal People in Prison? This was raised as a matter of urgency by Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator, in a Special Report to Parliament. This is due to aboriginals having no respect for the laws or there fellow man. Respected Canadian author and historian Irving Abella eloquently makes that point in a recent Globe and Mailarticle. Among these are poor social conditions, including lack of literacy and English language skills, health problems, poverty and unemployment. Our report contributes new economic modelling to the evidence base. Gerry Georgatos is a suicide prevention researcher and restorative justice and prison reform expert with the Institute of Social Justice and Human Rights. Overall, the authentic pathway to significantly reduce offending and the prison population are to lift people out of poverty, to improve life circumstances. He said the following: Aboriginal people are both over- and under-policed. The Canada I know and love. The levels of illiteracy among prisoners break the heart. When it comes to deaths in custody, we know the tragic toll, but in the first year following release, all the research shows that former inmates are up to 10 times more likely to suicide, or die an unnatural death, engage in risk-taking behaviour and substance abuse than at any time while in prison. These well-documented social, economic and historical factors have been recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada, originally in R. v. Gladue (1999) and reaffirmed in R. v. Ipeelee (2012): “To be clear, courts must take judicial notice of such matters as t… Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders not only represent a disproportionately high percentage of the prison population at 53%, they also have experience a higher proportion of their youth in detention. Aboriginal incarceration in context One of the key themes of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was that imprisonment should be a sanction of last resort. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Indigenous Australians are both convicted of crimes and imprisoned at a disproportionately high rate in Australia, as well as being over-represented as victims of crime. 300,000 First Nations descendants live below the poverty, with a significant proportion living in extreme poverty. If it is true that his recommendations have been dismissed out of hand, I am saddened. Let us better understand how many First Nations people have been to gaol. Nationally, by 2025, we are heading from today’s nearly one in three prisoners comprised of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders, to more than one in two. Of the more than 500,000 living Australians who have been to prison, this indicates that thereabouts of 125,000 First Nations people have been to prison. Independent Australia is a progressive journal focusing on politics, democracy, the environment, Australian history and Australian identity. no. Gerry Georgatos explores the reasons behind Australia's devastatingly high Indigenous imprisonment rate. Of Aboriginal people aged 19 to 20 years who have been to prison, more than 60% reoffend. Society should gear our governments to do as much as they can to reduce poverty, but when people finish up in gaol it should be a reformative, redemptive and transformational experience. As a society, we should be doing everything possible to keep people out of prison and not everything we can to gaol people, but where prison is the outcome, then everything must be done to help the people within them. [ learn more ]. Australia should start spending billions of dollars, long overdue, on ending disadvantage, particularly extreme poverty and on equality. COAG Urged To Fight Root Causes Of Indigenous Incarceration 0. The rates of incarceration tell of gruesome disparity: First Nations people being gaoled at 16 times the rate of the rest of the nation’s peoples. Prison system failed to ensure security tests aren't racially biased against Indigenous inmates More than 80% of incarcerated Manitoba minors are Indigenous. The number of Aboriginal women in prison is a major public health issue accounting for 33% of the female prison population, but only 3% of the Australian female population. Get the top stories emailed every day. The Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework explicitly recognises that the contemporary social and economic circumstances of Aboriginal people are inextricably linked to ongoing and previous generations’ experiences of European colonisation. This creates barriers to access to rehabilitation programs. The crisis of Aboriginal over-incarceration in Canada is one of the most well-documented features of our Criminal Justice System. There are 300,000 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders living below the poverty line. The yellow line indicates the percentage of Aboriginal people in the state's population (right axis) . Prisoner without prior adult imprisonment remained stable at 101. The old Canada, he writes, was "a benighted, closed, xenophobic society in which minorities were barred from almost every sector of Canadian life." The intersection of poverty and incarceration is not rocket science and it is where we must focus all attention. If the ways forward do not concentrate on tackling poverty and extreme poverty, then they are not ways forward and more people than ever before will be left behind. More than 500,000 Australians still living have been to prison. Support IA. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men make up 27 per cent of the Australian prison population, costing the nation about $3.9 billion per year, the ALRC said. Nearly 100% of the near 18,000 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children removed by child protection authorities from their biological families lived below the poverty line. Many factors contribute to the high rate of incarceration among Aboriginal Australians. We strand people post-release with little or no hope on the horizon. ... but 10 years later Aboriginal boys made up 47 per cent and Aboriginal … I have worked with hundreds of suicide affected families and, in my experience, nearly 100% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides are of people who lived below the poverty line. The rate of removal is a choice, but one that is a moral and political abomination, reprehensible beyond words. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at particularly increased risk of death from alcohol-related causes after release from prison.15 17. They are denied the equivalency of infrastructure, services and opportunity the rest of Australia enjoys, including remote non-Aboriginal towns. In it, he observes, the Canada of the first of half of the 20th century would be hard to recognize today. Aboriginal people continue to be incarcerated at truly alarming rates. The Caucasian incarceration rate fell by 8.5 per cent from 2006 through 2015. The highest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate was recorded in Western Australia, 4,066 persons per 100,000 adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population — the world’s highest racialised gaoling rate. 5.1 Both the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) and the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) stated that the reasons for the high imprisonment rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons are 'well documented'. The great bulk of Aboriginal offenders are thus statistically doomed to a life of ongoing contact with the criminal justice system and the prison system because of the root causes of offending. They end up serving more time. Nearly 100% of the children removed by child protection authorities, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and of Australian children in general, lived below the poverty line. One in four Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander males has been to prison. Another reason for the spike in Aboriginal incarceration is the harsh mandatory-minimum sentencing laws passed by Stephen Harper’s conservative government over the past decade which increased sentences for a wide variety of crimes while limiting parole opportunities. Indigenous incarceration in Australia has been the subject of many thorough and well evidenced reports and reviews over the past three decades including the landmark Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Up to 120,000 have been to prison. That’s 18,000 children removed, and 11,000 adults in gaol — all who live below the poverty line. #Australia: #Indigenous #prisoners & those with #disabilities at ‘serious risk’ of abuse says Human Rights Watch .The report also states there was strong evidence of #racism towards #Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates in 11 out of 14 prisons : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners accounted for just over a quarter (28%) of the total Australian prisoner population. Presently, there are nearly 11,000 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders in gaol. Support IA. We need YOU! The rate has increased 25 per cent for non-Aboriginal people. There is an overall poor investment in education and wellbeing programs in our prisons, and the unmet needs outstrip supply. Reasons for high Indigenous imprisonment rates Introduction. If we are to understand the enormity of what I believe is a humanitarian crisis with far reaching generational implications, we need to understand the following. Parliament designed it as a tool to remove barriers to opportunity based on ethnic origin, skin colour, gender or disability. To keep us speaking truth to power, please consider donating to IA today - even a dollar will make a huge difference - or subscribe and receive all the benefits of membership. Copyright © 2021 HuffPost.com, Inc. "HuffPost" is a registered trademark of HuffPost.com, Inc. All rights reserved. While the incarceration rate has increased across the board in the last 20 years, the Aboriginal incarceration rate has skyrocketed. It estimates the costs of Indigenous incarceration and the Eight of ten children in remote communities do not complete Year 12. But there are areas where we seem locked in a time-warp. It is almost negligible the number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders who are incarcerated who were living above the poverty line. Australia’s First Nations peoples are gaoled at a higher rate than the Black American gaoling rate. The increase is most alarming in New South Wales and South Australia. There is an urgent need for more affirmative actions, for the lifting of people out of poverty, for pathways to quality education and employment, for the full suite of infrastructure in all communities. These 3 say that can be changed 3.20Figure 3.3 below shows that the imprisonment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has increased 41% over 10 years, from 1,438 per 100,000 in 2006 to 2,039 per 100,000 persons in 2016. Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are gaoled at a higher rate than African-American gaolings. Prisoners with prior adult imprisonment decreased by 5% (18) to 349. Aboriginal women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of family violence than non-Aboriginal women. (both Aboriginal and Maori) inmates was exhibited in the Victorian prison system in the later part of the 19080s. Acting Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, This Vaccine Calculator Predicts When Canadians Can Expect Their Shot, Entire World Goes All In On 'Rational' Stock, House Price Bubble, Dozens Of Protesters Ticketed For Violating Quebec's COVID-19 Curfew, Here's Why Politicians In Atlantic Canada Avoided COVID Travel Scandals, Online School Forcing Single Parents To Choose Between Jobs And Kids, How To Help Older Kids Make Sense Of Scary News Stories, Quebec Imposes Province-Wide 8 P.M. Institute of Social Justice and Human Rights, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License, Treasury’s latest population projections seem hard to believe, An open letter to President Donald Trump after inciting domestic terrorism, Students suffer under sluggish welfare system, Australia's racism: Changing the anthem won't cut it, Julian Assange still not in the clear from prosecution or persecution, Daylight saving in the sunshine state of Queensland, Wren's week: Victoria leads way in managing COVID-19 infections, Compliance is a must: What we can learn about COVID-19 safety from Toronto. But this Canada, the Canada I know and love, is a relatively recent entity. In taking into account that the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration has been increasing each year for the last quarter century, I have accordingly estimated the minimum total of First Nations people likely to be still living who have been to gaol — 100,000. To keep us speaking truth to power, please consider donating to IA today - even a dollar will make a huge difference - or subscribe and receive all the benefits of membership. Gerry Georgatos explores the reasons behind Australia's devastatingly high Indigenous imprisonment rate.. AS A PREDOMINATELY experiential researcher and journeyer to homeland communities, and having worked for more than two decades alongside the incarcerated, homeless and suicide affected, I have looked at the national prison population numbers during the last two decades, … In this paper, I argue that three of the major reasons behind the high rates of incarceration of Aboriginal people are the history of colonization and their long lasting effects, the socioeconomic problems that they are facing, and lastly, the role of police in Aboriginal communities and racial profiling problems. What does this say about our country? They are stitched-up big time by our governments and by government-funded institutions. Therefore one in 50 Australians have been to prison. But denying the facts doesn't make them disappear. Why Are There So Many Aboriginal People in Prison? The Indigenous incarceration rate went up by 44.8 per cent, the … There is a lot of talk once again about reducing incarceration rates, about reducing disparities, about targets and generational change. The number of Aboriginal Australians in custody has increased by 88% since 2004, while the non-Aboriginal incarceration rate has risen by 28%. "Indigenous people are now the most disadvantaged in Australia, with higher rates of poverty, ill health & imprisonment than any other community..".https://t.co/IIYh7cUkID. How can we reduce Aboriginal incarceration rates? AS A PREDOMINATELY experiential researcher and journeyer to homeland communities, and having worked for more than two decades alongside the incarcerated, homeless and suicide affected, I have looked at the national prison population numbers during the last two decades, and disaggregated an estimated minimum 100,000 of First Nations people having been to prison. Suicides of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who lived above the poverty line are few and less than non-Indigenous suicides of people who lived above the poverty line. According to the U.S. Justice Bureau, the African-American gaoling rate stands at 2,207 per 100,000. Keep ‘em honest. All the rest is damaging chatter and inequality. The Canada the world admires. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Corrective Services, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander prisoners represent 27% of the total adult prisoner population. The great bulk of Aboriginal offenders are thus statistically doomed to a life of ongoing contact with the criminal justice system and the prison system because of the root causes of offending. I find it shocking that close to one in four inmates in the federal correctional system is an Aboriginal person. In the June 2017 quarter 91% of young Indigenous young people were in detention compared with 76% for non-Indigenous youth. 5.1 Both the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) and the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) stated that the reasons for the high imprisonment rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons are 'well documented'. Aboriginal prisoners. 3.13 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are disproportionately represented in Australian prison populations. Not only are Aboriginal women over-represented in our prisons, a disproportionate number are held in solitary confinement. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration report sets stark challenge Wednesday, 28 March 2018. The mantra that the Commonwealth Government annually spends thereabouts $30 billion on “Indigenous disadvantage” is a lie. The total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia aged 18 years and over in 2018 was approximately 2% (based on Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. Nearly 100% of incarcerated Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders are people who live below the poverty line. If we corral people to the situational trauma of prison and punishment then we embed a constancy of traumas — multiple, composite traumas, and the degeneration for many people into complex and aggressive traumas. How can we reduce Aboriginal incarceration rates? 16. Commissioner Oscar delivered the Grace Vaughan Memorial Lecture at the University of Western Australia last night and raised concerns about the over-representation of Indigenous women in prisons around the country. A new report into the distressing and disproportionate rates of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians sets governments a stark … The bar graphs show the percentage of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal prisoners (left vertical axis). I appreciate the complexity of these issues, and the challenges of dealing with them. Worse still, racism was embedded in the mindset of the ruling classes and permeated public life. The national average daily Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate is 2,440 persons per 100,000 adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. There was a persistent campaign of violence and By examining incarceration data, researchers found out that Indigenous people lose far more years of life to time spent incarcerated than to many other common causes of … IA is dedicated to providing fearless, independent journalism, free for all, with no barriers. 5 Although this principle is enshrined in legislation in most states, it is highly questionable whether it … The rate of incarceration of Aboriginal people has risen 35 per cent between 1988 and 1995. For non-Indigenous people, the imprisonment rate has increased by 24%, from 131 to 163 per 100,000 over the same period. 3.21The over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison has increased fr… © Copyright 2021 Independent Australia - All rights reserved. Yet Aboriginal people make up only four percent of our population. Incarceration of youth generally across Canada has declined slightly each year since 2012. Nearly 100% of First Nations people who are incarcerated are from the 300,000. Some end up serving additional sentences for crimes committed in detention. I find it shocking that close to one in four inmates in the federal correctional system is an Aboriginal person. Rudin addressed the issues of over- and under-policing in a paper prepared for the Ipperwash Inquiry (Rudin, 2007). https://t.co/SQ6rgFK0bF. The shocking truth of Australia's Indigenous incarcerated, The problem of Australia's Indigenous people behind bars needs to be addressed immediately (Image via twitter.com/Mediacoachasia), Power can be taken back by exposing our oppressors, Australia must build 150,000 public rental homes and end all forms of homelessness. However, of the 500,000, more than 100,000 are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders — First Nations persons. To reduce soaring Aboriginal prison rates it is essential to invest in psycho-social healing, counselling, empowerment, education and rehabilitation.. 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