find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Redfern Legal Service key to reducing Indigenous prison rates

Redfern Legal Service key to reducing Indigenous prison rates

The percentage of Indigenous Australians in prisons across the country has increased by 71 per cent over the last decade, amounting to a rate 14 times higher than the non-Indigenous prison…

The percentage of Indigenous Australians in prisons across the country has increased by 71 per cent over the last decade, amounting to a rate 14 times higher than the non-Indigenous prison population.

These figures were cited by Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland at the official opening of the refurbished Redfern Aboriginal Legal Service (RALS) on Friday (19 November).

"There has been a significant increase in the Indigenous prison population ... In the last decade, the Indigenous prison population in New South Wales has increased by 87 per cent, rising from 1265 in 1999 to 2374 in 2009," said McClelland.

"It is clear the high rate of imprisonment has had a disproportionate impact on Indigenous Australians, who currently comprise one in four of the Australian prison population ... It is clear that [the RALS's] workload is increasing rather than decreasing."

McClelland was joined at the ceremony by the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, the Hon. Justice Peter Hidden AM and the Hon. Graeme Henson.

The refurbishment was made possible by additional funds pledged by the Federal Government earlier this year for Aboriginal legal services.

The RALS was established in 1970 in response to a need for legal assistance to Aboriginal people in the area and was initially staffed with volunteer lawyers and members of the Redfern Aboriginal community.

Since then, the service has grown significantly, and according to McClelland, it plays a crucial role in addressing the issue of over-representation of Aboriginal people in prison.

"We need to work together to address these alarming statistics," he said.

"Improvements in the areas of health, education, employment and housing will not only help to close the gap in a broad sense - they will also help to reduce Indigenous contact specifically with the criminal justice system."

McClelland said the Federal Government is also looking at ways to support ambitious initiatives like justice reinvestment, trials of innovative policing models in Indigenous communities, arrangements so that "the first door is the right door" for victims of violence, and for alcohol supply reduction strategies.

"We want to test whether these things work and promote successful ideas to the States and Territories," he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Redfern Legal Service key to reducing Indigenous prison rates
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...