Amnesty has welcomed that the ALP has recognised the need to address the ongoing over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the justice system at a Federal level, but is calling for action on locking kids up.
Rodney Dillon, Indigenous Rights Adviser at Amnesty International Australia said:
“Prevention and diversion are key to any successful program. The announcements today would be a step in the right direction towards building safe and connected communities that support Indigenous people rather than locking them up. Indigenous-led solutions are key and we welcome the establishment of a national justice reinvestment body and investment into ATSILS and justice reinvestment more broadly.
“However the ALP has missed an opportunity to address the growing problems with the youth justice system, by raising the minimum age we can lock up kids.
“It is fundamentally wrong that Australia continues to lock up children as young as 10 despite the growing evidence that it can harm them and trap them in the justice system.
“A child arrested before the age of 14 is three times more likely to be locked up as an adult than a child arrested after 14. Indigenous kids are 25 times more likely to be locked up than non-Indigenous kids.
“Other countries have a median minimum age of 14, which is the age recommended in the latest medical research and by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Australia must stop lagging behind the rest of the world and raise the minimum age immediately.”