Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Thalia Anthony, Associate Professor in Law, University of Technology Sydney

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for a Royal Commission into abuse of youths in the Northern Territory corrections system after the ABC’s Four Corners program aired footage of children being hooded, shackled and teargassed at a Darwin juvenile detention centre.

Cape York Institute senior policy adviser Shireen Morris told Q&A that the incarceration rate of Indigenous people has doubled since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody 25 years ago.

That statement is true but gaps in the data suggest the problem may be even worse than the official statistics suggests.

Official data show the rate has doubled in last 25 years

Australian Bureau of Statistics data show the Indigenous incarceration rate in 1991 was 14.4%. In 2015, it was 27.4%. In the March 2016 quarter, it was 28%.

image For every 100,000 Indigenous people, 2,253 are in prison (up from 1,232 in 1991). For every 100,000 non-Indigenous people, 146 are in prison (up from 102 in 1991). This makes an Indigenous adult 15.4 times more likely to be in prison than a non-Indigenous person. But the real rate may be worse There are a number of limitations with prison data collections. First, official prison measurements are point-in-time: they reflect the number of prisoners on a certain day (generally 30 June) in any given year. They do not represent the through-flow of prisoners across a year. Indigenous people are more likely to receive shorter sentences, and more likely to cycle in and out of prison. So it is likely that the over-representation of Indigenous people in prisons over the course of the year is greater than the official statistics suggest. Research by Professor Stuart Kinner, a Griffith University expert on criminal justice, found that the annual “flow” of Indigenous people through Australian prisons significantly exceeds the daily number. Before the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody handed down its report in 1991, there were few statistics on numbers of Indigenous women in custody. We now have a more nuanced understanding of the prison demographic. The Royal Commission also made a special point about the inadequate information in relation to juvenile prisoners at the time. Among prisoners, Indigenous children and Indigenous women are currently the most over-represented compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts. However, we are unable to compare changes across all demographics. image A blanket understanding of increases in prison rates does not reflect the prisoners who are sentenced and those on remand (having been denied bail after charged but before proven guilty or sentenced). image It’s worth noting statistics can vary based on the agency collecting them and their methodologies, leading to small discrepancies whether we examine the statistics of the corrections system, Australian Bureau of Statistics or other research bodies. And although data collection on police custody has improved, the information on detention in police custody and police vehicles remains more scarce than that for prisons. Generally when people refer to the “incarceration rate” they mean the number of people in prisons. Finally, there is limited public information on the proportion of Indigenous young people in detention centres who are in state care or have previously been subjected to state child removal policies. We are aware that the rates are high, but the nexus between child protection interventions and the the criminal justice system requires further analysis. Similar shortcomings in information on the number of Indigenous people with a mental impairment or disability in juvenile detention exist. Having a more accurate picture of the scale of Indigenous incarceration and its features will better equip us to find solutions. Statistics don’t necessarily solve problems, but there is an adage: what gets measured gets done.

Authors: Thalia Anthony, Associate Professor in Law, University of Technology Sydney

Read more http://theconversation.com/data-gaps-mean-indigenous-incarceration-rates-may-be-even-worse-than-we-thought-63044

Writers Wanted

Love in the time of algorithms: would you let your artificial intelligence choose your partner?


A Brief Overview of Australian Gun Laws


The Conversation


Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Business News

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing up Your Executive Career

Switching up industries is a valid move at any stage in your career, even if you’re an executive. Doing so at this stage can be a lot more intimidating, however, and it can be quite difficult know...

News Co - avatar News Co

4 Costly Mistake To Avoid When Subdividing Your Property

As a property developer or landowner, the first step in developing your land is subdividing it. You subdivide the property into several lots that you either rent, sell or award to shareholders. ...

News Co - avatar News Co

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion