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Aboriginal Incarceration: A call for change

Monday 13th April / presented by Chris Wheeldon

39 per cent of prisoners in WA are Aboriginal although they represent only 2 per cent of the Australian population.

This incarceration rate is the highest in Australia, an affliction held by WA for years, and something that hasn’t improved under the Barnett government.

One of the reasons being cited is a high amount of offenders being locked up for petty crimes, such as fine defaulters - but others have said that the issue is more complex than that.

Daniel Morrison had a chat with Chris Wheeldon on The Mag...

A national Aboriginal health report was released last year with mixed results.

Although life expectancy and Child mortality rates improved, self-harm and incarceration jumped, leaving questions hanging around the Governments closing the gap agenda.

Aboriginal and Torre’s Strait Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda spoke about this incarceration rate recently, proclaiming it to be at Crisis point.

He believes Aboriginal health and Incarceration rates are intrinsically entwined, and the figures back this up. Aboriginal Prisoners are at greater risk of cognitive illness, chronic illness and substance abuse.

Mick spoke Chris to discuss this expanding dark cloud...

Australia's Aboriginal Incarceration rates, nationally and state-wide have been very disappointing.

This state of flux hasn’t gone unnoticed internationally.

The UN called for Australia to address Aboriginal over-imprisonment when it last reviewed the country's compliance with its obligations to the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Ruth Barson is the Senior Lawyer of the human Rights Law Centre and spoke to Chris to discuss Australia’s obligations to the rest of the world, and how we’re performing.

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