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Over-imprisonment of indigenous peoples a ‘national emergency’ – The Australian

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

THE over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a “national emergency” that needs to be immediately addressed according to the peak body, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services which says cutting funding to indigenous legal aid now would be a disaster.

NATSILS has seized on a plan by the head of the Prime Minister’s indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, for a new youth diversion program to be trialled in Western Australia before going national.

NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said the introduction of justice targets will ensure that efforts to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration are coordinated nationally and “an associated national partnership agreement would ensure that action is planned for, funding is committed and progress is publicly reported on”.

Mr Duffy said that given the tight fiscal environment, it is essential that any new initiatives to tackle incarceration rates are based on evidence of what will work to ensure that investment is well spent.

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