QLS WELCOMES INDIGENOUS INCARCERATION INQUIRY
Written on the 7 November 2016 by Lin Evlin
QUEENSLAND Law Society president, Bill Potts has welcomed the federal government's decision to order an inquiry into Indigenous detention, which he describes as a "national shame".
The announcement last week comes 25 years after the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was released.
In that time, Indigenous representation in Australia's prison system has risen from 14 per cent to 27 per cent despite the Royal Commission in 1991 making 339 recommendations for change.
Queensland Government statistics show that Indigenous people are almost 11 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to be in prison in Queensland as at 30 June 2015.
Potts says the inquiry, which will be conducted by the Australian Law Reform Commission, requires a complete review taking into account prevention and rehabilitation. He believs the need for the government to act has been a long time coming.
"It is important that any inquiry 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," he says.
"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."