North Coast Aboriginal incarceration rates spike
TROUBLING statistics have revealed more than a 50% increase in the number of Aboriginal people sentenced to jail in just four years on the North Coast, according to data obtained by the Greens NSW from the Bureau of Crime Statistics.
The report shows more Aboriginal people are facing courts with a large percentage of those receiving a custodial sentence.
Time in custody is also increasing, largely due to broken bail laws and the ongoing District court backlog.
Major categories of offences such as violence offences are seeing 50% to 133% increases in the number of Aboriginal people jailed on the North Coast, while Justice offences are seeing between 18% and 90%.
"When almost one in four Aboriginal people can expect to find themselves in jail at some time in their life this is proof the criminal justice system is broken and appallingly damaging,” said Greens MP and Aboriginal Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge.
"The Coalition has been directly responsible for much of this increase through brutal bail laws and under-resourced courts that leave hundreds of Aboriginal people in jail awaiting trial.
"At a time of record surplus this Government is making deliberate choices to invest in locking up people in this state, rather than working to lift them up and help them on their way.
"This data shows a need for comprehensive investment in community programs on the North Coast. This means spending money on education, health and housing, rather than police, courts and jail.
"NAIDOC week has just ended, but the challenges facing Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system are ongoing, and we need this Government to step away from business as usual, and make a commitment to closing the justice gap.”
The report can be viewed here.