Indigenous Justice

Independent Review into the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

On 24 October 2018, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs released the final report of the independent review of the implementation of the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

While the Royal Commission’s recommendations were monumentally important in driving improvements for Indigenous people, and the Review found significant progress has been made in implementing them, the over-representation of Indigenous people in prisons is still a matter of deep concern today.

More work is needed to identify and prioritise effective solutions to the contemporary drivers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ disproportionate contact with the justice system.  This is not a simple task given the complexity of the multiple drivers associated with entrenched, chronic disadvantage, family violence, abuse and neglect in childhood, and alcohol abuse.

Although state and territory governments are responsible for police, courts and jails, and the Commonwealth shares responsibility with the jurisdictions in tackling many of the underlying drivers resulting in contact with the justice system, there is a crucial need to also hear Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in this conversation. The Commonwealth is committed to continuing its meaningful engagement with key stakeholders, including peak Indigenous legal services, peak Indigenous welfare bodies and Indigenous communities themselves to clearly develop and agree on priorities to improve Indigenous justice outcomes into the future.

Following the release of this Review, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will be engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations, state and territory governments, and other stakeholders to look at ways to improve Indigenous justice outcomes into the future focusing on reducing the disproportionately high rate of Indigenous incarceration.

As far as possible, the Department will build on the many existing mechanisms for consultation, such as the Closing the Gap Refresh, to identify key gaps, priorities and evidence-based approaches to chart the way forward. Most importantly, the Commonwealth is committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during this process, as well as with state and territory governments, to produce genuine improvements to Indigenous justice outcomes into the future.

If you have questions regarding the Review or would like to be part of these discussions going forward please email communitysafety@pmc.gov.au

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