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Deaths in custody: Ten years on.

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Media Release

Deaths In Custody - Ten Years On Qld


12 April 2001


A senior Queensland Indigenous leader has called on other state governments to follow Queensland’s commitment to halving the incarceration rate of Indigenous prisoners .

ATSIC Commissioner for Queensland North, Jenny Pryor, said that ten years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths In Custody, state governments had still not implemented its primary recommendation that Indigenous incarceration levels should be drastically reduced.

“The Beattie Government has at least signed off on a ten-year plan to halve the rate of imprisonment for our people,” she said. “The Royal Commission found that Aboriginal people were vastly over represented in the prison system and that the most effective method of reducing deaths in the system was to reduce the volume of people in the prisons.

“The tragic thing is that the Indigenous prison population continues to rise nationally and our people continue to die in prisons despite the findings of the RCIADiC.” Said Ms Pryor. “The imprisonment rate of Aboriginal people in Australia is amongst the world’s highest: higher than that of Apartheid-era South Africa and the old Soviet Union

“While Queensland’s response has been slow, the recent commitment to halve the prison population AND SET A DATE for achieving this is a major breakthrough and must be mirrored by other governments.

“While governments are generally happy to mouth platitudes about the tragedy of deaths in custody it is Queensland that is putting the rhetoric into action and doing it in a way that makes the Queensland Government accountable. Other governments need to follow the Beattie lead.”

Commissioner Pryor also congratulated the management of Townsville’s Stuart Creek Correction Centre for its support of an Aboriginal-initiated Prisoner’s Peer Support Program which has significantly reduced rates of recidivism.

For More Information: Alastair Harris 0409 658 177


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