Doing time - time for doing: Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system


Twenty years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody the report by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs focuses on prevention and early intervention in order to identify strategies to reduce the alarming detention and incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians. The report is supportive of progress made in some areas, particularly by local grassroots organisations, and critical of gaps, inefficiencies and attitudes in other areas. The Committee made a total 40 recommendations. Proposals include: a National Partnership Agreement, with specific justice targets, dedicated to the Safe Communities Building Block under the Closing the Gap strategy; strengthening positive social norms through families, communities, mentoring and sport and recreation; accommodation options for Indigenous youth, including those who have been granted bail; holistic health and wellbeing programs which involve family, mentors and Indigenous leaders; addressing alcohol and substance abuse and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Indigenous communities; better education outcomes for Indigenous students through positive relationships between schools and Indigenous communities, teacher development and recognition, and improved student attendance; improving the transition for education to the workforce through initiatives such as increasing the uptake of Indigenous apprentices and assisting young people in remote and regional areas to obtain driving licence; improving interpreting and legal services for Indigenous youth; cultural awareness and diversion training for police, and increased Indigenous employment with police; alternative sentencing options and pre-court conferencing; parliamentary Indigenous representation and an Indigenous Law and Justice Advisory Body. (Media release, edited)

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