26 July 2016
NSWALC appalled by mistreatment of young people in detention
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement of a Royal Commission into the juvenile justice system in the Northern Territory following the appalling revelations of mistreatment aired by the ABC's Four Corners program last night.
NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said the vision of youths being humiliated, tear-gassed and restrained at a youth detention centre in Darwin was horrific.
Cr Ah-See said young Aboriginal people continue to be over-represented in detention facilities.
In New South Wales the average daily number of young people in custody was 286, with young Aboriginal people accounting for more than half of that number (150).
Nationally, Aboriginal people account for more than half of young people in detention.
"Given the shameful over-representation of young Aboriginal people in detention throughout Australia, the Federal Government must consider broadening its investigations to other States and Territories.
"Aboriginal families need reassurances that people's basic human rights are being respected in juvenile justice centres in the Northern Territory, New South Wales and other States and Territories.
"Unfortunately, Aboriginal people have little faith in the justice system given the inability of governments to tackle increasing imprisonment rates in the 25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
"It's time for governments to work with Aboriginal communities and organisations on alternatives to detention based on education, training, parole support, rehabilitation and community-driven approaches."
Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291