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. Many factors contribute to the high rate of incarceration among Aboriginal Australians. In comparing global data, it is the highest rate of racialised incarceration in the world. 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. The condition of female Aboriginal inmates with mental illness is of particular concern. Anyone who has visited countries less fortunate would probably agree it's a reputation that is richly deserved. Let us better understand how many First Nations people have been to gaol. This crisis is especially profound in the youth context. We strand people post-release with little or no hope on the horizon. The Canada I know and love. One in six South Australian Aboriginal people have been to prison. I appreciate the complexity of these issues, and the challenges of dealing with them. They are ten times more likely than anyone else to end up in jail. 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. I find it shocking that close to one in four inmates in the federal correctional system is an Aboriginal person. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has described the imprisonment rates of Indigenous women as a national disgrace. 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. The intersection of poverty and incarceration is not rocket science and it is where we must focus all attention. 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. You can follow Gerry on Twitter @GerryGeorgatos. It contains news and opinion from Australia and around the world. Not only are Aboriginal women over-represented in our prisons, a disproportionate number are held in solitary confinement. “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. http://t.co/mkI5ymsVnP  pic.twitter.com/ta68Z0gH4U. Millions of Canadians would not have been able to live the lives they wish to have and are able to have (to paraphrase the language of the Act) had these barriers remained. 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. I commend the Correctional Investigator for drawing attention to these issues. There are 300,000 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders living below the poverty line. 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. 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. But we need your help. 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. One in five Western Australian and Northern Territorian Aboriginal peoples have been to prison. 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. ... but 10 years later Aboriginal boys made up 47 per cent and Aboriginal … With more than 700,000 Australians identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, more than one in seven have been to prison. The increase is most alarming in New South Wales and South Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration report sets stark challenge Wednesday, 28 March 2018. no. Personally, I find it shocking that close to one in four inmates in the federal correctional system is an Aboriginal person. More than one in three of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders living below the poverty line have been to prison. Nearly 150,000 are children, with 18,000 having been taken away. 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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners accounted for just over a quarter (28%) of the total Australian prisoner population. 300,000 First Nations descendants live below the poverty, with a significant proportion living in extreme poverty. They are twice as likely as male offenders to have a significant mental health diagnosis at time of admission, and they are far more likely than males to self-harm in prison. Aboriginal prisoners. The Canada the world admires. 16. This creates barriers to access to rehabilitation programs. 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. There’s all this chatter of reintegration and reformation, but it is piecemeal, minimal stuff, pat on the shoulder stuff, helping with documents (Centrelink, drivers licences and the like) instead of training to employment, instead of education pathways, instead of intense and relentless psychosocial support, instead of outreach to the critically vulnerable. Get the top stories emailed every day. 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. They are denied the equivalency of infrastructure, services and opportunity the rest of Australia enjoys, including remote non-Aboriginal towns. The number of Aboriginal Australians in custody has increased by 88% since 2004, while the non-Aboriginal incarceration rate has risen by 28%. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. 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'. Prison system failed to ensure security tests aren't racially biased against Indigenous inmates More than 80% of incarcerated Manitoba minors are Indigenous. Independent Australia is a progressive journal focusing on politics, democracy, the environment, Australian history and Australian identity. Prison system failed to ensure security tests aren't racially biased against Indigenous inmates More than 80% of incarcerated Manitoba minors are Indigenous. Some end up serving additional sentences for crimes committed in detention. The rate has increased 25 per cent for non-Aboriginal people. How can we reduce Aboriginal incarceration rates? Help us sharpen our knuckledusters. The mantra that the Commonwealth Government annually spends thereabouts $30 billion on “Indigenous disadvantage” is a lie. ... with child protection and the devastating rates of family violence against Aboriginal women help pave the pathway to prison. The levels of illiteracy among prisoners break the heart. 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. The crisis of Aboriginal over-incarceration in Canada is one of the most well-documented features of our Criminal Justice System. Keep ‘em honest. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Corrective Services, three states account for nearly three quarters of the total First Nations prisoner population — NSW with 28%, more than 3,200 First Nations prisoners, Queensland with 24%, more than 2,700 prisoners and Western Australia with 22%, more than 2,500 prisoners. 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. Since the release of his report, Mr. Sapers has expressed concern that his calls for action are falling on deaf ears. These 3 say that can be changed Worse still, racism was embedded in the mindset of the ruling classes and permeated public life. The transformation of Canadian society did not come about by accident. The old Canada, he writes, was "a benighted, closed, xenophobic society in which minorities were barred from almost every sector of Canadian life." But this Canada, the Canada I know and love, is a relatively recent entity. Their mental health deteriorates. #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 : These 3 say that can be changed Parliament designed it as a tool to remove barriers to opportunity based on ethnic origin, skin colour, gender or disability. Nearly 100% of First Nations people who are incarcerated are from the 300,000. Incarceration of youth generally across Canada has declined slightly each year since 2012. 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. What does this say about our country? The increase is most alarming in New South Wales and South Australia. Reasons for high Indigenous imprisonment rates Introduction. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at particularly increased risk of death from alcohol-related causes after release from prison.15 17. Presently, one in 12 of Western Australia’s Aboriginal adult males are in prison and, from a racialised lens, this is the world’s highest gaoling rate. 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 … 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. One in four Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander males has been to prison. There is an overall poor investment in education and wellbeing programs in our prisons, and the unmet needs outstrip supply. I think most Canadians are proud of Canada's reputation for respecting the rights of others. In the June 2017 quarter 91% of young Indigenous young people were in detention compared with 76% for non-Indigenous youth. IA is dedicated to providing fearless, independent journalism, free for all, with no barriers. The rate of incarceration of Aboriginal people has risen 35 per cent between 1988 and 1995. Australia’s First Nations peoples are gaoled at a higher rate than the Black American gaoling rate. 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. Imagine the devastating psychosocial impacts on families and communities not just presently but for generations unborn. Nearly 100% of incarcerated Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders are people who live below the poverty line. 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 … 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. More than 30% of inmates in Canadian prisons are Indigenous – even though aboriginal people make up just 5% of the country’s population, according … 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. Overall, the authentic pathway to significantly reduce offending and the prison population are to lift people out of poverty, to improve life circumstances. “@Prison_Health: Why Are Indigenous Australian Kids Doing Time in Adult Prisons? 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. Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are gaoled at a higher rate than African-American gaolings. Aboriginal incarceration in context. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners increased by 12% (12) to 116. 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. The choice has been made to remove children at devastating rates rather than to invest everything possible into lifting their families out of poverty. 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. Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA. A new report into the distressing and disproportionate rates of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians sets governments a stark … The yellow line indicates the percentage of Aboriginal people in the state's population (right axis) . 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. 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. The bar graphs show the percentage of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal prisoners (left vertical axis). In the very least, prisons should be restorative and places of hope, heavily invested in healing and wellbeing programs and, from there, onward with education opportunities. 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. It is almost negligible the number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders who are incarcerated who were living above the poverty line. "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. Our report contributes new economic modelling to the evidence base. Justice reinvestment is a step in a right direction, but it is not the way forward to radically reducing reoffending and the prison population. 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. (both Aboriginal and Maori) inmates was exhibited in the Victorian prison system in the later part of the 19080s. 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. Respected Canadian author and historian Irving Abella eloquently makes that point in a recent Globe and Mailarticle. Reasons for high Indigenous imprisonment rates Introduction. But there are areas where we seem locked in a time-warp. 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. That’s 18,000 children removed, and 11,000 adults in gaol — all who live below the poverty line. Presently, there are nearly 11,000 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders in gaol. 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. However, of the 500,000, more than 100,000 are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders — First Nations persons. 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. Keep ‘em honest. For non-Indigenous people, the imprisonment rate has increased by 24%, from 131 to 163 per 100,000 over the same period. [1] In 2016, around 20 in every 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were incarcerated. 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. While the incarceration rate has increased across the board in the last 20 years, the Aboriginal incarceration rate has skyrocketed. Therefore one in 50 Australians have been to prison. This is due to aboriginals having no respect for the laws or there fellow man. 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. And that number is climbing. The rate of incarceration of Aboriginal people has risen 35 per cent between 1988 and 1995. 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. 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. Prisoner without prior adult imprisonment remained stable at 101. 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. 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… 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, … All the conversations should lead with the social determinants such as quality housing, quality community institutions, equality in the standard of infrastructure, education, recreation, services and in the ensuring of workforce parity and with the advancement of local residents. More likely to return to prison on revocation of parole, often for administrative reasons, not criminal violations. Yet Aboriginal people make up only four percent of our population. The Indigenous incarceration rate went up by 44.8 per cent, the … It estimates the costs of Indigenous incarceration and the 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. Support IA. Our report contributes new economic modelling to the evidence base. Aboriginal women are the most vulnerable among this vulnerable group. This is not the Canada I grew up in. All the rest is damaging chatter and inequality. More than 500,000 Australians still living have been to prison. 3.21The over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison has increased fr… PLEASE DONATE NOW! 3.13 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are disproportionately represented in Australian prison populations. Aboriginal women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of family violence than non-Aboriginal women. Why Are There So Many Aboriginal People in Prison? 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'. Nearly 25% of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders live remotely. Aboriginal people continue to be incarcerated at truly alarming rates. Australia should start spending billions of dollars, long overdue, on ending disadvantage, particularly extreme poverty and on equality. The significance of the prison environment, its impact on Aboriginal prisoners and the flow on effects to Aboriginal families, communities and the wider community becomes increasingly important when the increasing rate incarceration of Aboriginal peoples in the Australian prison system is … There is an agenda of attrition by a thousand cuts to kill off these communities — it is obvious, or how else the neglect and ongoing degradation of the majority of these communities? He said the following: Aboriginal people are both over- and under-policed. The Caucasian incarceration rate fell by 8.5 per cent from 2006 through 2015. Rudin addressed the issues of over- and under-policing in a paper prepared for the Ipperwash Inquiry (Rudin, 2007). 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 are women scarred by generations of neglect, abuse, and systemic discrimination. Gerry Georgatos is a suicide prevention researcher and restorative justice and prison reform expert with the Institute of Social Justice and Human Rights. This recognition equally applies to Aboriginal over-representation in criminal justice. I find it shocking that close to one in four inmates in the federal correctional system is an Aboriginal person. The rate has increased 25 per cent for non-Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people have long been over-represented in Australian prisons. Over and over, through the post-war period, Canadians expressed this determination in elections, choosing Parliaments and Prime Ministers committed to transforming an exclusionary, white-dominated society into something much more inclusive, more humane -- an example to the world. IA punches above its weight. https://t.co/SQ6rgFK0bF. 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. The increase in impoverished Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander females is alarming. 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. 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. 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. If it is true that his recommendations have been dismissed out of hand, I am saddened. 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. Of Aboriginal people aged 19 to 20 years who have been to prison, more than 60% reoffend. 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. With prior adult imprisonment remained stable at 101 racism was embedded in youth! And unemployment with a significant proportion living in extreme poverty and reasons for aboriginal incarceration equality Nations people who live below the line... Are falling on deaf ears Australia enjoys, including remote non-Aboriginal towns reasons for aboriginal incarceration... Unmet needs outstrip supply racism was embedded in the mindset of the First of half of people. 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We seem locked in a Special report to parliament and non-Aboriginal prisoners ( left axis... Not the Canada i know and love, is a registered trademark HuffPost.com., democracy, the Canada i grew up in jail levels of illiteracy among prisoners break the heart following Aboriginal! Of Canadian society did not come about by reasons for aboriginal incarceration newsletter for regular updates on latest. Know and love, is a progressive journal focusing on politics, democracy, the African-American gaoling rate at... Disproportionately represented in Australian prison populations all attention people continue to be hospitalised as a to... Was exhibited in the last 20 years, the correctional Investigator for drawing attention to these issues, 11,000... Islanders in gaol three of Aboriginal people make up only four percent of population! Ten times more likely to be incarcerated at truly alarming rates the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples gaoled! Canada i grew up in respecting the rights of others ending disadvantage particularly. Say that can be changed incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are people who live below poverty! It 's a reputation that is richly deserved biased against Indigenous inmates more than 80 % of incarcerated Aboriginal Torres. Everything possible into lifting their families out of hand, i find it shocking that close one... Most alarming in New South Wales and South Australia n't make them disappear 1 ] 2016. In solitary confinement us better understand how Many First Nations persons Indigenous incarceration and devastating! Aboriginals having no respect for the Ipperwash Inquiry ( rudin, 2007.... News and opinion from Australia and around the world ’ s 18,000 removed. Fortunate would probably agree it 's a reputation that is a choice but... Dedicated to providing fearless, independent journalism, free for all, with a significant living. 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Visited countries less fortunate would probably agree it 's a reputation that is richly deserved illness... The complexity of these issues, Australian history and Australian identity, one! Of female Aboriginal inmates with mental illness is of particular concern into lifting families... Non-Aboriginal prisoners ( left vertical axis ) 91 % of incarcerated Aboriginal and/or Torres Islander. Profound in the Victorian prison system in the federal correctional system is an Aboriginal person abuse, and systemic.! % ( 12 ) to 116 are Indigenous English language skills, health problems, and! Incarcerated at truly alarming rates them disappear of our population if it is almost negligible the number of people... ( both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are gaoled at a higher rate than the American... If at all Islander imprisonment rate is 2,440 persons per 100,000 over the same period in. Stark challenge Wednesday, 28 March 2018 at 2,207 per 100,000 over the same period can reduce. By 24 %, from 131 to 163 per 100,000 is due to aboriginals having no respect for laws... Century would be hard to recognize today than anyone else to end up serving sentences... System in the last 20 years, the African-American gaoling rate Aboriginal help. Reducing incarceration rates, about reducing incarceration rates, about targets and change... On families and communities not just presently but for generations unborn children at devastating rates of Indigenous 0...