Crisis of rising Incarceration Rates
Posted 2 Apr 2017 09:00AM
No one deserves to be treated this way
This Friday (31st March) the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention in the Northern Territory will hand down its interim report.
Who could forget the catalyst for the establishment of the Royal Commission, where a hooded, shackled, Aboriginal child Dylan Voller was depicted being treated so inhumanely.
The image and footage spoke of the crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander over-incarceration and thousands of our supporters signed our rapid response petition that week.
We now need to urgently increase the pressure on the Federal, State and Territory Governments in advance of the report this Friday. Together we had an impact in July last year, we can again this week.
To date, the public hearings of the Royal Commission have revealed countless stories of systemic cruel, inhumane and degrading mistreatment of children, the vast majority being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The issue of over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people remains a national crisis. Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are 24 times more likely to be sent to in youth detention than their non-Indigenous counterparts, yet they make up just 5% of the national youth population.
And the abuse and mistreatment of youth detainees is not just isolated to the Northern Territory, but has been played out in other detention centres across Australia. In the past six months we have heard damning reports, highlighting shocking allegations of abuse in Queensland youth detention facilities, the disturbing use of isolation, separation and lock downs of children in Victoria’s youth detention centres and similarly awful reports from Cobham Youth Detention Centre in Sydney. A recent report by the Commissioner for Children and Young People in Victoria found that Koori kids were disproportionately subject to isolation whilst in detention.
This is a national crisis, which demands an immediate national response. We need nationally coordinated justice targets to reduce the crisis of incarceration of First Peoples.
We made a difference before and we can follow through and make a difference again.
Thank you for all that you do.
ANTaR National Director