It has been 30 years since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. To discuss I spoke with Gomeroi woman, Fulbright scholar, law researcher, essayist/activist/writer and poet – Alison Whittaker – who is a Research Fellow, at University of Technology Sydney.
This month marks 30 years since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The report investigated 99 deaths over 10 years and made over 330 recommendations intended to protect Aboriginal people in custody. Despite this, the number of Indigenous people imprisoned has increased 100 per cent in the past three decades.
Indeed the numbers are stark – When you break down it all down, around three per cent of the Australian population make up nearly 30 per cent of those behind bars.
In Western Australia, 40 per cent of prisoners are Indigenous. In the Northern Territory, it is more than 80 per cent.
Aboriginal people are jailed at 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous people. They are also jailed younger, and more likely to die of preventable medical causes, more likely to be incarcerated for minor offences, and more likely to be on remand. To date there have been 474 deaths in 30 years: why are Aboriginal people still dying in custody?
To discuss this I was joined by Gomeroi woman, Fulbright scholar, law researcher, and essayist/activist/writer and poet – Alison Whittaker… who is a Research Fellow, at University of Technology Sydney. Alison’s recent article on Indigenous deaths in custody was published in the Conversation last week.