[LINK] One in four, from one in forty
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Fri Jul 10 00:15:49 AEST 2009
Completely off-topic to anything unimportant ..
> From: postman at crikey.com.au>
> Date: 8 Jul 2009 16:56:29 +1000
> Subject: Crikey Squatter Edition: http://www.crikey.com.au/
'We jail black men five times more than apartheid South Africa'
THURSDAY 02 JULY 2009 Chris Graham writes:
Last week, the federal government helped launch a paper entitled Bridges
and Barriers: Addressing Indigenous Incarceration and Health.
It was prepared by the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee
(NIDAC) and calls for new efforts to improve Indigenous health, and
thereby reduce Indigenous incarceration.
The report had some startling findings, and in the context of the ongoing
Mulrunji Doomadgee outrage, and the horrendous death in custody in
Western Australia of Mr Ward a respected young Aboriginal leader who
was cooked in the back of a prison van during a four hour trip through
the Central Desert I had expected media to get at least half
as 'excited' about the issue as they do when reports emerge of Aboriginal
How naïve. Whatever the reason, black men and women being jailed at
astronomical rates, apparently, doesnt pique our interest.
The story got a sparing run across the nation, and was restricted in most
cases to a breaking news story on websites, courtesy of an AAP yarn.
It included some startling statistics like: "One in four prisoners in
Australia is Indigenous and their over-representation in the jail system
is only getting worse."
One in four is no mean feat given that in the general population,
Indigenous Australians make up one in 40.
And there was this: "The situation is worst in the Northern Territory,
where 83 per cent of the prison population is Indigenous."
Thats 83 per cent, in a jurisdiction where Aboriginal people constitute
less than 30 per cent of the total population.
"In Western Australia, the figure is 41 per cent. Victoria has the lowest
proportion of Aboriginal prisoners 6 per cent of that states inmates are
All pretty alarming stuff, but not enough to really capture our
attention. So I thought I should try and s-x it all up a little bit.
All I can do is put the figures in some sort of context that might
resonate a little better
. Which of course required me to read more than
the government press release hand out.
In the first half of 2008, there were 8,411 Indigenous people enrolled in
tertiary education . At the same time, there were 6,605 Indigenous people
By comparison, for the same period there were about 696,279 non-
Indigenous Australians enrolled in tertiary education, while there were
20,072 non-Indigenous Australians in prison.
Nowhere else on earth would you see figures where the Indigenous
population in jail almost matches the Indigenous population in
Indeed, Australias Indigenous jailing rate is the highest on earth.
But thats not the most startling figure in context. This one is:
The jailing rate of black males in South Africa at the end of the
Apartheid era (1993) was 851 per 100,000 population. In Australia today,
we jail black males at a national rate of 4,364 per 100,000.
Thats over five times higher.
In the Northern Territory, the rate is almost six times higher.
In fact, no state or territory of Australia not even the
ACT jails black
males at a rate less than South Africa under apartheid. The closest is
Tasmania, at 1,169 per 100,000 population.
So Australias "best performer" is still almost 30 percent worse than the
regime considered the most racist on earth.
Our worst performer Western Australia jails black males at
eight times the rate of South Africa during Apartheid.
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