Aborigines 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than other Australians

June 25th, 2009 - 4:44 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, June 25 (ANI): A report by the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) states, that aborigines are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than other Australians.

It says that one in four prisoners in Australia is indigenous, and their over-representation in the jail system is getting worse, as even the fraction of indigenous women being locked up has almost tripled in the past 20 years.

“The fact is, every year it gets worse,” News.com.au quoted Gino Vumbaca, executive director of ANCD, as saying.

The report revealed that half of the 10-17-year-olds in corrective institutions were indigenous.

“The investment in prison cells is clearly flawed. It’s not working. If you build more prison cells, invariably you’ll fill them with more indigenous people,” Vumbaca added.

In the past ten years, on an average, the number of indigenous Australians in jail rose by 6.7 per cent a year. And their population in prison has risen from 18 per cent to 24 per cent.

“The report proves tinkering around the edges of the problem hasn’t worked and it makes economic sense to invest more in rehabilitation,” said Vumbaca.

The report recommends making diversion programs more accessible for indigenous Australians, while simultaneously establishing a network of indigenous-only residential rehabilitation centres as alternatives to jail.

It also suggests individual education fund to be provided to every young Aboriginal person to sustain and encourage him or her to participate in the education system. (ANI)

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