Calls for youth detention royal commission to go national
Figures showing the massive over-representation of indigenous people in jail Australia-wide give support to a push to extend to other states and territories the royal commission into the treatment of children in Northern Territory detention centres.
NSW Aboriginal Land Council chairman Roy Ah-See CORRECT said images aired on the ABC's Four Corners program of youths being teargassed, stripped naked and strapped to a mechanical restraint chair at the Don Dale detention centre were horrific.
He said there was a daily average of 286 juveniles in detention in New South Wales, with indigenous youths accounting for more than half of that number.
Indigenous people are just 3% of the population.
"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," Mr Ah-See said.
"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."
The Greens echoed the call for a national royal commission, citing evidence of abuse in other states.
"We, as a community, have failed the 10, 11 and 12-year-olds who have ended up locked behind bars, and we will fail them again unless the prime minister gives the royal commission the scope to investigate the incarceration, abuse and treatment of children wherever they are; and commits to implementing the commission's recommendations," Greens leader Richard Di Natale said.
"A royal commission that leads to no action will lead to us failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids, and their communities, again.
"Twenty-five years have passed since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody yet many of the recommendations have still not been implemented, and the mass incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples remains a national shame." -ARM NEWSDESK