Law & justice

Aboriginal prison rates

Aboriginal people are massively overrepresented in the criminal justice system of Australia. They represent only 3% of the total population, yet more than 29% of Australia's prison population are Aboriginal.

Close this Cover of Aboriginal Culture Essentials

Wishing you knew more about Aboriginal culture? Search no more.

Get key foundational knowledge about Aboriginal culture in a fun and engaging way.

This is no ordinary resource: It includes a fictional story, quizzes, crosswords and even a treasure hunt.

Stop feeling bad about not knowing. Make it fun to know better.

Sold! Show me how No, thank you

Selected statistics

Percentage of Aboriginal prisoners in Australia in late 2019.
Percentage of all incarcerated women in Australia who were Aboriginal in 2016; of incarcerated men: 26.7%.
Percentage of juveniles in custody who are Aboriginal.
Number of reports that have been written on Aboriginal prison rates over several decades.
Percentage by which imprisonment rates increased for Aboriginal women between 2000 and 2010; for Aboriginal men: 35.2%, non-Aboriginal women: 22.4%, non-Aboriginal men: 3.6%.
Percentage by which the number of Aboriginal people in prison in NSW increased between 2013 and 2020.
Factor by which Aboriginal people across Australia are more likely to be imprisoned than non-Aboriginal people. Same figure for WA: 20 times.
Incarceration rate of Aboriginal men in Western Australia in 2008. Same rate for Aboriginal women: 0.6%; for African-American women in the US: 0.5%.
Times Aboriginal women are more likely to be in prison than non-Aboriginal women.
Annual cost of Aboriginal overrepresentation in Australian prisons in 2019.
Times Aboriginal drivers in WA receive fines more often from being pulled over than non-Aboriginal drivers. Speed-camera-issued fines are even.
Factor by which an Aboriginal driver is more likely to be fined for seatbelt offences than non-Aboriginal drivers.
Percentage of Aboriginal prisoners who have been in prison before; percentage for non-Aboriginal prisoners: 50%.
Percentage of Aboriginal prisoners who are male.
Factor by which an Aboriginal defendant more likely to be refused bail by a court.

Aboriginal prison statistics: "Every year it gets worse"

Since 2004, the number of Aboriginal people in custody has increased by 88% compared to a 28% increase for non-Aboriginal Australians. In 1992 one in seven prisoners was Aboriginal. By 2020 that ratio had risen to one in four.

Australia's proportion of adult Aboriginal prisoners ranges from 9% in Victoria to 84% in the Northern Territory.

Australia owns a humanitarian crisis as the mother of jailers of its First Peoples.

— National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project in 2020

Australia is now facing an Indigenous incarceration epidemic.

— Former prime minister Kevin Rudd, in 2015

We are at a state of emergency, we can't afford any more experiment.

— Shane Phillips, Tribal Warrior Association, about Aboriginal prison rates

The Alice Springs Prison is so far beyond capacity that it's refusing to take prisoners.

— Mark O'Reilly, principal legal officer, Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, in 2011
Aboriginal share of prisoners in Australia in 2016
Aboriginal prisoners. The bar graphs show the percentage of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal prisoners (left vertical axis). The yellow line indicates the percentage of Aboriginal people in the state's population (right axis) .

As the chart above shows Aboriginal people represent on average 17% of the prison population except in Western Australia and the Northern Territory where they account for 43% and 84%.

Yet, as the yellow line shows, Aboriginal people make up less than 5% of each state's population except for the Northern Territory where they account for 31.6%.

Since 1989, the imprisonment rate of Aboriginal people has increased 12 times faster than the rate for non-Aboriginal people. In December 2019 the rate was 2,536 prisoners per 100,000 adult Aboriginal population, compared to 218 prisoners per 100,000 non-Aboriginal population.

The most common offence or charge for Aboriginal prisoners was acts intended to cause injury (34%) followed by unlawful entry with intent (14%). The most common offences for non-Indigenous prisoners were Illicit drug offences (20%) and acts intended to cause injury (18%).

Aboriginal prison rates compared to white people: Adults 16 times, juveniles 24 times (in WA: 52 times).
How likely are you to go to jail? As an Aboriginal adult you are 16 times more likely to be incarcerated. Juveniles in Western Australia are 52 times more likely to be imprisoned than their white peers .

Half of the 10- to 17-year-olds in jails are Aboriginal. More than 30% of all Australian Aboriginal males come before Corrective Services. No wonder that 90% of all Aboriginal prisoners are male.

In June 2016, 69% of Aboriginal prisoners were sentenced, and 31% were unsentenced. This has changed little since. In 2019 the figures were 67% and 33% respectively.

In 1992 there were 15,000 prisoners (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal), by 2012 that figure had doubled to 30,000, and in 2016 there were more than 38,800. The imprisonment of Aboriginal peoples skyrocketed from 1 in 7 of all prisoners in 1992 to 1 in 4 in 2012, and to nearly 1 in 3 in 2014.

Imprisonment rate comparison
Australia (WA Aboriginal only)**4,066
Australia (NT Aboriginal only)**2,748
Australia (Aboriginal only)**2,440
USA (African-American only)***2,207
Australia (NT only)****886
Russian Federation445
Australia (WA only)****335
South Africa292
New Zealand194
United Kingdom (England & Wales)148

* Per 100,000 of national population; sources: , ** , *** .

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that, from 2000 to 2012, imprisonment rates for Aboriginal Australians increased from 1,727 to 2,346 Aboriginal prisoners per 100,000 adult Aboriginal population. In comparison, the rate for non-Aboriginal prisoners increased from 122 to 154 per 100,000 adult non-Aboriginal population.

Aboriginal prison rates are remain 10 to 15 times higher (data from 1998 to 2016).
Crude prison rates for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal prisoners. Note how the non-Aboriginal rate is almost constant at 130 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, while the Aboriginal rate is rising ever since data is available.

And numbers are almost certain to be higher than reported. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures are a 'moment in time' measurement, yet many prisoners are in and out of prison more than once per year, making the numbers published by the ABS almost certainly wrong. Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says simply “we are underestimating indigenous imprisonment”.

Jailing Aboriginal people in such large numbers has numerous effects on their communities. For example, it prevents elders passing down traditional knowledge to the next generation.

The fact is, every year it gets worse.

— Gino Vumbaca, Executive Director, Australian National Council on Drugs, about Aboriginal prison rates

The term 'mass-incarceration' is used to characterise the imprisonment of African American people in the United States, but incarceration of [Australian] Aboriginal women and children, in particular, are 20 times that.

— Charandev Singh, who assists families whose relatives have died in custody

Prison rates highest in Western Australia

Western Australia always had a higher incarceration rate of Aboriginal people compared to the rest of Australia, and rates have nearly doubled between 1990 and 2010.

A parliamentary report in 2010 found the rate of Aboriginal people jailed per 100,000 people in Western Australia was 2,483, while the figure for African Americans in the United States is 2,290 . In March 2009 Western Australia's rate was 3,741.

Perth based academic, prison reform advocate and restorative justice specialist Dr Brian Steels suggests that Western Australia's high prison rates could be related to the "frontier mentality" of police or racism.

When researching police relationships with Aboriginal people, a disproportionate number of incidents occurred in Western Australia.

Western Australia incarcerates the Aboriginal peoples of its State at 9 times the rate of Apartheid South Africa.

— Gerry Georgatos, Human Rights Alliance, Perth

What you cannot get away from is that the rate of Indigenous imprisonment in Western Australia is far greater than anywhere else in the country and indeed it compares with the worst rates of imprisonment, of African Americans in the United States.

— Bob Debus, chair of the federal inquiry into the over-representation of Indigenous young people in the criminal justice system

Reoffending rates are high

With high levels of alcohol and substance abuse, lack of services of any kind, high unemployment rates, low levels of education and child abuse it is no surprise that there is a high rate of reoffending. In fact, repeat offending and re-incarceration is a large contributor to this high rate of imprisonment.

The re-conviction rate within two years in NSW is 74% of non-Aboriginal people, and 86% for Aboriginal people. In Western Australia, 80% of jailed Aboriginal male juveniles, 64% of Aboriginal female juveniles and 70% of adult Aboriginal males reoffend.

"Research indicates that time in a juvenile justice centre is the most significant factor in increasing the odds of recidivism [reoffending]," says Father Chris Riley, founder of Youth off the Streets.

Australia-wide, about one in four prisoners will convicted again within 3 months of their release from prison, between 35 and 41% within 2 years.

ABS figures show that nearly three-quarters (74%) of Aboriginal prisoners had a prior adult imprisonment under sentence, compared with just under half (48%) of non-Aboriginal prisoners.

A study of incarcerated women revealed that 67% of all Aboriginal women in prison had been incarcerated previously, while almost half this number of non-Aboriginal women had a history of incarceration.

The lack of housing and support women receive upon release contributes to the high levels of re-offending.

Looking after prisoner's mental health is key to cutting recidivism. In 2012, up to 80% of all inmates in Australia suffered some form of mental illness. compared to just 50% in 2003.

Story: Why prisoners reoffend: An inside story

Michael Woodhead is a non-Aboriginal journalist whose young son in 2019 served a 4-year prison sentence for a first-time drug offence. Michael shares why he believes prisoners reoffend at such high rates.

  • No rehabilitation programs. Prisoners get no programs, no education and no training.
  • No mental stimulation. Prisons offer few books, have no internet access and ban educational material from the outside. Almost all NSW prison teachers were sacked in 2016. Prisoners on remand have no access to anything educational. "There's nothing to do in prison except drugs, play cards or work out in the yard."
  • Undemanding jobs. Prison jobs are often unskilled and undemanding, making prisoners yearn for "intense enough" jobs to help pass time.
  • Us-versus-them regime. Prisoners stick together against the "blues" (prison guards). This means the role models and mentors are gang members, bikies and fraudsters, who impress their attitudes and knowledge on young prisoners. This will be what they take to the outside on release day.
  • Condescending attitudes. The prison system often regards inmates as "oxygen thieves" and treats them as criminals who will never change, with no hope of reform.

56% of released prisoners in NSW reoffend and reenter jail within two years.

The Summertime Bathurst Blues

In the morning breeze, I hear the sounds,
of early spirit bird tunes
As the sun shines in, the walls cave in,
and light out glows the moon.

Guards stroll up, the wing gates bang,
the day has now begun
Half restless dreams, that should have been.
I live 'em I believe I can

I miss the waves, down near caves
And watch the news,
But I'm in here, all alone
With the summertime Bathurst Blues

Poem by Reuben Scott, Bathurst . Aboriginal singer Vic Simms sung his way out of Bathurst Jail. Read more Aboriginal poetry.

An inside view of a prison.
Aboriginal prison rates lock out a large proportion of Aboriginal men and youth from their communities. Up to 68% of juveniles in detention are Aboriginal .

Why are prison rates so high?

To understand these high rates, one must know Aboriginal history. Many factors work together and some of them include the following:

  • Stolen Generations. Those taken away from their families as a child are twice as likely to be arrested than their peers. Some courts at sentencing don't consider when offenders are traumatised, for example being a victim of domestic abuse.
  • Disconnection from land. When Aboriginal people are not able to live on their traditional lands they are more likely to come into conflict with the law.

We cannot flee persecution to another country because we are spiritually connected to our own ancestral lands. So jails and mental institutions are full of our people.

— Wadjularbinna Nullyarimma, Gungalidda Elder and member of Aboriginal Tent Embassy
  • Police behaviour. Police might act racist, violently or inappropriately (see below for more on this).
  • Offence criminalisation. Aboriginal people are 15 times more likely to be charged for swearing or offensive behaviour than the rest of the community.
  • Social and economic situation. Poverty and unemployment, particularly for young Aboriginal people or in rural and remote areas ('crimes of need').
  • Inadequate legal representation. Legal representatives have little time with their clients and Aboriginal defendants are sometimes unsure whether their lawyer is friend or foe.
  • People's attitude. Some police and community members have a "law and order" attitude.

We need to be clear, when they talk about 'tough on crime' they mean 'tough on Aboriginal people'.

— Vickie Roach, Yuin Nation, Women's prison rights advocate
  • Lack of language skills. Some Aboriginal people are sentenced to jail without them fully understanding the court process because English is not their first language.
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome. Many children enter the justice system because their mother drank too much alcohol during her pregnancy. Her children are often unable to appreciate the consequences of their actions and do prostitution or theft, or both.
  • Health problems. Life expectancy and overall health are linked to prison and incarceration. Particular health issues drive imprisonment rates, notably mental health conditions, alcohol and other drug use, substance abuse disorders and cognitive disabilities.
  • Family breakdown and violence. "You can do whatever you like [to help a young offender]," says Queensland barrister Cathy McLennan, "but if they’re going home and getting bashed at night, if they’re going home and they are starving, they’re going to reoffend. That is the reality."
  • Disintegration seems to manifest in deliberate attempts to strip away Aboriginal culture in some communities.
  • Lack of accommodation. The Children's Court is often being told imprisonment was the only option.
  • Inflexible funding. Bureaucracy prohibits progress when programs cannot go ahead due to red tape.
  • Reoffending. Across Australia more than 70% of prisoners (Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal) reoffend. 38% are back in prison 2 years after their release. This is why Aboriginal incarceration is called 'cyclical'.
  • Inflexible sentencing Acts. Sentencing options in most, if not all, sentencing Acts are limited and lack flexibility, leading to a high rate of recidivism.
  • Lack of community services. According to The Medical Journal of Australia, "there is increasing evidence that many people in prison are there as a direct consequence of the shortfall in appropriate community-based health and social services, most notably in the areas of housing, mental health and well-being, substance use, disability and family violence."
  • Childhood and intergenerational trauma. Leading child psychiatric expert Stephen Stathis observed how lasting and profoundly damaging effects of trauma on children up until the age of three – which in some cases causes permanent brain damage – is connected to adolescent criminal offending.
  • Lack of government action. Solutions to lower Aboriginal prison rates already exist in the 50 different reports that have been written on the issue over several decades. But "there seems to have developed a culture of reporting in lieu of doing," as Tony McAvoy SC puts it, a barrister of the NSW Bar Association and the first Aboriginal Senior Counsel (SC) appointed in Australia. Several "reports provide a guidebook on how to reduce over-incarceration".

There's no doubt that prison has a ripple effect on every family, especially if the member in prison was supporting the family.

— Justice Valerie French, chairman Prisoners Review Board

Story: "He has never had an adult birthday"

William Bugmy, an Aboriginal man from Wilcannia NSW, first entered juvenile detention when he was 12 years old.

He has a history of domestic violence and separation from family and placements in foster care. He also has mental health and health issues and started using drugs and alcohol from age 12, self medicating for years to “block the voices out”.

Mr Bugmy never been to residential rehabilitation, despite requesting it. He self-harms. He does not read or write. He has not had much education.

He spent most of his teenage years ‘inside’ before transitioning into the adult system often because of altercations with the police.

He has never had an adult birthday in the community. He is 31 years old and from a community where the average life expectancy for a man is 37. Many of his family members are already deceased.

“First jailed at 12 years of age for a six week stint, Mr Bugmy’s life thereafter shows the destructive effect of prison on people, families and communities,” says Solicitor Stephen Lawrence.

Non-Aboriginal people are indifferent

The other side of why Aboriginal prison rates are high appears to be through the indifference of non-Aboriginal people.

Australian governments rely blindly on their departments to find a solution without guiding them. In the past, however, many departments have learnt to exploit this freedom to protect their own interests, rather than those of incarcerated Aboriginal people. They become self-protective and self-preserving.

Police remain hard-hearted and indifferent to prison rates and, in some cases, Aboriginal prisoners themselves. Recommendations of the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were cherry-picked for those that could be accepted without too much change occurring .

Aboriginal educator Chris Sarra believes Australians should stop seeing Aboriginal people as a separate group. He writes in The Guardian:

"There are mainstream Australians, and then there are the 'other' Australians. Casting Indigenous Australians as a negative and despised form of 'other' explains how we can tolerate or completely ignore such dreadful incarceration rates. Against this background it is very simple to make such pious and ill-considered statements as, 'If they don’t want to go to jail, they shouldn't break the law!'"

You have government departments who say, 'just lock them up. that will solve the problem'.

— Joan Baptie, Magistrate and convenor of the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court of New South Wales

"Incredibly trivial offences"

There is a persistent feeling among Aboriginal communities and legal experts that police treat Aboriginal people differently for trivial offences.

Would you be going to jail for any of these things:

  • Did not receive court mail. Some Aboriginal people end up in jail because they did not get the postal notifications of court dates after which bench warrants are issued and bail is unlikely.
  • Can't make it to court. Others simply cannot make it to a court date due to funerals or health problems and courts are too inflexible to change the date.
  • Unpaid fines. A young Aboriginal woman was held for four days because she hadn't paid her parking fines. Tragically, in this case, the woman died a short time after. According to one Western Australian prison attendant, their prison receives "seven or eight [new inmates] a day" because of unpaid fines, most of them women. An average unpaid fine is about $3,000 with much of it additional fees and charges. (The WA government eventually passed legislation to prevent the imprisonment of fine defaulters in June 2020.)
  • Driving unlicensed. Youth who might never have seen a traffic light or a freeway have difficulties getting a license because remote communities lack trainers and facilities, and the language used for driving tests is inappropriate. When they then get caught repeatedly driving unlicensed, uninsured and unregistered—a common “trifecta” on court lists—they end up in jail . But in many Aboriginal communities only one person holds a drivers license.
  • Driving during lockdown. During the corona pandemic, some First Nations people were fined for driving people who didn't belong to their household to the supermarket or to attend a funeral. But they might have been culturally obliged to do so.

In New South Wales, the Local Court is required to add a further 5-year disqualification period under the Roads and Traffic Authority Traffic Act's Habitual Offender Scheme introduced for people who commit 3 serious traffic offences in 5 years . This means some people who collected too many offences in their youth might get disqualified from driving until they are for example 50 years old. This has dire consequences for the standard of living, finding work and managing children.

  • Provocation by police. "There have been a number of instances where our men and women have been flogged or abused by police... When they're going off because of the abuse that's happened to them, they're being put down the back and they've got no support," says Marianne McKay, Co-deputy Chair of the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee of Western Australia .

Story: Jailed to die

48-year-old Marshall Wallace was given a 15-month prison sentence for a series of driving offences after being caught driving without a licence in Mount Isa. The problem was, Mr Wallace was terminally ill and had only 6 to 9 months to live, and his wife had a doctor's letter to prove it. The couple had moved to Mount Isa to access chemotherapy services.

It took a petition attracting 17,000 signatures, pressure from the public, media and lawyers, and the Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion writing a letter to the Queensland Premier asking to support early parole for Mr Wallace, to release him from jail.

Police pursue Aboriginal people more

Aboriginal people are more likely to be charged, less likely to get bail and more likely to be given a prison sentence. There are some really gross injustices going on in the criminal justice system.

— George Newhouse, CEO of the National Justice Project and Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University and the University of Technology, Sydney

"Every day of the week we act for Aboriginal people who've been charged with disorderly conduct," says Peter Collins, Legal Director of Aboriginal Legal Services in Western Australia (ALSWA).

"Their crime: To swear at the police. They use the F word, they use the C word. Often they're drunk or affected by drugs or both, or they've got a mental illness or they're homeless or whatever. But it seems to me the only people in this day and age who are offended by the use of the F word and the C word are police. And so these [Aboriginal] people are hauled before the courts for these incredibly trivial offences."

In Wickham, Western Australia, Aboriginal people have been arrested for 'shouting'. Many times, police challenge Aboriginal people into such behaviour.

And in New South Wales, police pursue far more Aboriginal people found with small amounts of cannabis through the courts: 82% compared to 52% of non-Aboriginal people who are more often let off with warnings. An investigation by The Guardian Australia found that "police disproportionately used the justice system to prosecute Indigenous people". The data shows police were four times more likely to issue cautions to non-Aboriginal people, and that 93% of Aboriginal people taken to court for the cannabis possession charge were either found guilty by a judge or magistrate or pleaded guilty.

Australia continues to regard swearing as an offence. Queensland remains the only state in which a person can be arrested for being drunk in public.

First Nations people are more likely to spend time in prison even if innocent, in some cases more than two years.

In all my years of research in criminal justice, I can tell you it would be very difficult to find a white person charged with shouting or swearing.

— Dr Brian Steels, restorative justice researcher, Murdoch University

Police "selecting" and locking up Aboriginal people for swearing is widespread and known as selective policing. Training about Aboriginal culture and awareness could assist police to find better responses.

According to Western Australia Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan police are not prejudiced against Aboriginal people or any other racial group. This, however, is a statement which meets little love among Aboriginal communities, and little validation by statistics.

Criminologist Chris Cunneen knows that Aboriginal people are more heavily policed and let off less under discretionary powers. Higher imprisonment rates are not reflective of higher crime rates but harsher sentencing, bail laws, and a move away from alternative sentencing measures.

I've spoken to somebody who was arrested because he stole a [piece of] fruit. And another one who was [arrested for] sleeping in the trash bin.

— Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur, in 2017
Many more Aboriginal teenagers receive prison penalties than non-Aboriginal teenagers in north-west NSW.
Justice is no longer blind. Dozens of Aboriginal teenagers in north-western NSW were put in jail, compared to just a few non-Aboriginal teenagers .
Book: The Tall Man

Case Study: Read how swearing at police can not only land you in prison but also cost your life.

An Aboriginal man's death becomes the most prolonged investigation in the criminal justice system for an Indigenous community.

The Tall Man

Further resources

Change the Record

The Change the Record campaign aims to close the gap in imprisonment rates by 2040. It is overseen by a steering committee, made up of Aboriginal, human rights and community organisations. It offers key statistics and case studies on its website.


View article sources (61)

[1] [1a] [1b] [1c] '4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, December Quarter 2019', Australian Bureau of Statistics 12/3/2020
[2] [2a] [2b] [2c] [2d] [2e] '4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2016', Australian Bureau of Statistics, 8/12/2016, retrieved 28/3/2017
[3] 'A stolen generation of our young in detention', Sun Herald 22/8/2010
[4] [4a] 'Stop reporting and start doing, lawyers tell NSW inquiry into 'inhumane' Indigenous incarceration', The Guardian 26/10/2020
[5] [5a] 'Sisters Inside – Debbie Kilroy on women in prison', The Stringer 25/4/2013
[6] [6a] 'Criminal justice system 'inherently racist' towards Aboriginal people', SMH 6/6/2020
[7] [7a] [7b] 'Australian Bureau of Statistics on prison rates', The Stringer 12/4/2013
[8] [8a] 'Black sentences soar as juvenile jails become a 'storing house'', The Australian 5/1/2013
[9] [9a] [9b] ''How many times does one person have to be tested?'', SMH 28/7/2019
[10] [10a] 'Racism fear amid WA police report on driver fines', WA Today 6/2/2020
[11] [11a] [11b] '4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2018', Australian Bureau of Statistics, 6/12/2018
[12] [12a] [12b] [12c] [12d] 'The preventable scandal of Aboriginal incarceration', IN Daily (Adelaide) 3/12/2015
[13] [13a] 'Prison diversion programs not meeting needs of Indigenous offenders', The Stringer 7/12/2013
[14] [14a] 'Collective support vital for formerly incarcerated and vulnerable peoples', National Indigenous Times 14/5/2020
[15] 'Kevin Rudd warns of the emergence of a new stolen generation', SMH 13/2/2015
[16] [16a] [16b] [16c] [16d] 'Jail rates at crisis point, inquiry told', Koori Mail 494 p.13
[17] 'Packed prison sparks concern', Koori Mail 517 p.9
[18] '2075.0 - Census of Population and Housing - Counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 2011', Australian Bureau of Statistics, 21/6/2012
[19] '20 years later, and 269 more are dead', Koori Mail 499 p.5
[20] 'The Australian children 24 times more likely to face jail than their peers', SMH 30/4/2015
[21] [21a] 'Inmate levels worsen', Koori Mail 454 p.14
[22] [22a] 'Time on Country instead of in prisons', The Stringer 25/10/2013
[23] 'Australia, the mother of all jailers of Aboriginal people', The Stringer 22/11/2013
[24] 'World Prison Population List', 11th Edition, World Prison Brief, 2/2/2016, retrieved 28/3/2017
[25] '4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, December quarter 2017' Australian Bureau of Statistics, 15/3/2018, retrieved 7/5/2018
[26] 'The shocking truth of Australia's Indigenous incarcerated', Independent Australia 1/5/2018
[27] [27a] [27b] [27c] [27d] 'Australia's indigenous incarceration crisis', Aljazeera 14/12/2014
[28] [28a] [28b] 'WA's high jail rate in spotlight', Koori Mail 490 p.16
[29] 'WA 'high achiever' - for locking up people', Koori Mail 455 p.10
[30] 'Climate of Death - justice denied means more will die', Gerry Georgatos, 29/9/2012, email
[31] [31a] 'Inquiry reveals huge jail rates', Koori Mail 474 p.11
[32] 'Back to prison', ABC Radio National 18/5/2014
[33] 'Juvenile jail rate slammed', Koori Mail 504 p.7
[34] [34a] 'Jail paid to keep felons out', The Australian 14/12/2012
[35] 'Wonder why prisoners re-offend? Here's my son's story', SMH 26/4/2019. The article focuses on NSW prisons.
[36] 'The Summertime Bathurst Blues', Koori Mail 516 p.23
[37] 'Govt accused over jail deaths report', Koori Mail 458 p.10
[38] NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs
[39] 'Taking our rightful place', statement by Wadjularbinna Nullyarimma, 8/1/2002
[40] Koori Mail 390 p.68
[41] [41a] [41b] ''I realised I never was able to help one child': where the justice system fails', The Guardian Australia 21/2/2017
[42] '2015 AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health - Closing the Gap on Indigenous Imprisonment Rates', Australian Medical Association, 2015
[43] 'Inside stories', SMH Good Weekend 13/2/2010 pp29
[44] NIT 30/10/2008 p.26 citing The Australian
[45] 'First time in 30 years - Considering Aboriginality in Sentencing', Aboriginal Legal Service, media release 2/8/2013
[46] 'Incarcerations: The sad truth', Koori Mail 504 p.27
[47] 'We must look to our humanity to solve the crisis of Indigenous incarceration', The Guardian 22/1/2015
[48] 'Incarceration rates increase', Koori Mail 473 p.13
[49] 'Justice focus in WA', Koori Mail 400 p.10
[50] ''Independent inquiry needed' into South Hedland police lockup death', SMH 28/9/2014
[51] 'Melbourne pensioner reveals why he paid jailed WA mum’s fines', NITV News 4/10/2017
[52] 'Jailing youth not working - Chief Justice', Koori Mail 473 p.13
[53] 'Decades of driver disqualification finally driving Government to action', Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), email 3/3/2011
[54] 'Waiting for action', Koori Mail 487 p.10
[55] 'Terminally ill Indigenous man freed from Queensland custody after Minister intervenes', ABC News 10/5/2017
[56] [56a] 'Defendants spend years in jail waiting trial. What happens when they’re not guilty', SMH 23/10/2022
[57] 'Freddo Frog case dropped', Koori Mail 465 p.11
[58] [58a] ''Selective policing' under fire', Koori Mail 393 p.14
[59] 'NSW police pursue 80% of Indigenous people caught with cannabis through courts', The Guardian 10/6/2020
[60] Victoria passed legislation in February 2022 to abolish the crime after an inquest into the death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day.
[61] 'United Nations 'appalled' at Indigenous youth detention and living conditions', SMH 3/4/2017

Cite this page

Korff, J 2022, Aboriginal prison rates, <>, retrieved 17 June 2024

Creative Spirits is a starting point for everyone to learn about Aboriginal culture. Please use primary sources for academic work.

Join thousands of Smart Owls who know more!