Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill, has called on the Government to commit to Change the Record’s Blueprint to close the gap in indigenous incarceration by 2040.
Ms Haylen made the call after concerns were raised from the family of David Dungay, who died at Long Bay jail in December last year, and the death of indigenous woman Rebecca Maher earlier this year in Maitland.
Incarceration rates for indigenous Australians are 13 times higher than that for non-indigenous Australians.
Change the Record offers a comprehensive plan to close the gap, focused on community investment, early intervention, diversionary programs and rehabilitation.
Quotes attributable to the Member for Summer Hill
“We must treat any death in custody as a tragedy and recommit to dealing with the problem of indigenous incarceration.
“The Royal Commission into deaths in custody was over a quarter of a century ago and its totally unacceptable that incarceration rates are still 13 times higher for indigenous than non-indigenous Australians.
“Change the Record’s blueprint makes sense. It’s a clear way forward and promises to close the gap in indigenous incarceration by 2040.
“It encourages an investment in communities, not prisons - We won’t close the gap in indigenous incarceration unless we address poverty, mental illness and disadvantage.
“The key priorities for Change the Record are early intervention and diversionary programs to keep people from going to jail and rehabilitation to keep them from going back once they’re out.”
“And we must provide additional support for indigenous individuals caught up with the law with complex needs, including mental health needs.
“One death in custody is one too many.”