Mr GUYULA to ATTORNEY-GENERAL and MINSTER for JUSTICE
What is the government planning to do to reduce the very bad imprisonment rate of Indigenous Territorians?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question, a very important question. In the Northern Territory our rates of incarceration for Indigenous Territorians are at unacceptably high levels. We need to do things differently and we need to bring community on us with that journey; we need to work with leaders in the Indigenous community particularly around what we can do to drive down that rate of imprisonment.
We have rates of Indigenous incarceration that are unacceptably high; we have offenders on low range offenders. There is a lack of support in terms of providing programs in communities and that is something this government is committed to doing. We are committed to making justice work, making sure that when we look through the justice system we look through it with the prism of making sure that we acknowledge the extremely high rate of incarceration of Indigenous Territorians.
We need to make sure we have programs that when people do the wrong thing, commit an offense, that they understand the consequences of their behaviour and that they are provided with a pathway of rehabilitation. We need to take into account all the varying factors and that is something we are committed to.
I note that the previous government established, under the strong leadership of my colleague, Gerry McCarthy, the Member for Barkly, the Barkly work camp, a different model, something outside the box rather than simply locking people up.
I note under the previous government we saw cuts in terms of programs within our correctional facilities. If people do the crime they need to serve the crime but we need to make sure it is constructive and we have a long term plan to reduce that high rate of Indigenous incarceration.
I know the previous Labor government had plans around a facility in the Katherine region. I think this is a model we need to look towards. We need to make sure the correctional facilities are appropriate to people can serve their sentence issued to them by the court and also so we can stop the revolving door of people being incarcerated
See connecting Questions on 15 & 16/02/17