Newsletter date: 6 October 2013
* Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT): First time in 30 years - High Court judgement on Aboriginality in sentencing to be handed down
* Clare Quirk, Warrnambool Standard: South-west elder praises indigenous appeal decision [Featuring Aboriginal Elder Lenny Clarke]
* Louise Taylor, The Guardian: Indigenous imprisonment rates: Australia needs better sentencing [About the High Court finding]
* Jane Lee, SMH: Judges told to consider history when sentencing
* ABC News Video: Indigenous disadvantage does not diminish over time, High Court rules
* SBS Radio News: Aboriginality and setting a sentence
* Clare Rawlinson, ABC News: Mandatory sentencing [laws in the NT] blocks disadvantage ruling [by the High Court]
* The Wire Audio: High court says Indigenous disadvantage does not dimish
* Let's Talk's Tiga Bayles interviews Priscilla Collins, CEO of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, about Aboriginal imprisonment
* SBS Aboriginal Audio: Naming and Shaming Young Offenders
* Perth Now: WA prisoners cost $115,000 a year each new figures show
* Gerry Georgatos, The Stringer: Kimberley's Aboriginal peoples old at 45 years
* Background to Justice Reinvestment, Aboriginal imprisonment and Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
* ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE (NSW/ACT): FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS - HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT ON ABORIGINALITY IN SENTENCING TO BE HANDED DOWN
Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT): ALS News: First time in 30 years - High Court judgement on Aboriginality in sentencing to be handed down
30 Sep 13: "Central to the Aboriginal Legal Service arguments to the High Court was the contention that the effects of social deprivation can worsen over time, particularly for Aboriginal people from remote disadvantaged communities subject to frequent jailing. The Aboriginal Legal Service is concerned that the lack of weight being given to personal circumstances of socioeconomic deprivation is contributing to the very high rates of Aboriginal over-representation in the criminal justice system in Australia for Aboriginal juveniles (more than 50%) and Aboriginal adults (more than 25%)."
* CLARE QUIRK, WARRNAMBOOL STANDARD: SOUTH-WEST ELDER PRAISES INDIGENOUS APPEAL DECISION [FEATURING ABORIGINAL ELDER LENNY CLARKE]
Warrnambool Standard: South-west elder praises indigenous appeal decision
4 Oct 13: "A SOUTH-WEST Aboriginal elder has welcomed a High Court decision which would see judges consider an Aboriginal offender’s background when it came to sentencing. The court found that indigenous disadvantage didn’t diminish over time and should be given "full weight" in criminal sentencing. Elder Lenny Clarke said a person’s entire background needed to be taken into account in the sentencing procedure. "If you don’t, you’re not looking at the whole case properly," he said. Mr Clarke said Australia should be ashamed of the high prison rates for Aboriginal people." By Clare Quirk
* LOUISE TAYLOR, THE GUARDIAN: INDIGENOUS IMPRISONMENT RATES: AUSTRALIA NEEDS BETTER SENTENCING [ABOUT THE HIGH COURT FINDING]
- Analysis / Opinion
The Guardian: Indigenous imprisonment rates: Australia needs better sentencing
3 Oct 13: "Yesterday Australia's high court found that social disadvantage should be taken into account in sentencing, and does not diminish over time. Lawyers for William Bugmy,an Aboriginal man who had intentionally caused grievous bodily harm to a prison officer, had asked the court to consider principles for recognising Indigenous disadvantage in sentencing. This was the first time in decades that the high court looked at the sentencing of Aboriginal offenders, and this fact alone makes the decision an important one." Louise Taylor, an Aboriginal (Kamilaroi) woman, a barrister/solicitor practising in the Australian Capital Territory
"Louise Taylor is an Aboriginal (Kamilaroi) woman and a barrister/solicitor practising in the Australian Capital Territory. Louise is the convenor of the Women's Legal Centre, an Indigenous Law Centre associate, and a member of the Law Council of Australia's Indigenous Legal Issues Committee. Her piece is written in a personal capacity."
* JANE LEE, SMH: JUDGES TOLD TO CONSIDER HISTORY WHEN SENTENCING
SMH: Judges told to consider history when sentencing
3 Oct 13: "Judges will need to consider the Aboriginal background of an offender when sentencing them, after a High Court decision ruled that the effects of profound disadvantage do not diminish over time. The High Court ruled for the first time on Wednesday that a person's Aboriginal background may reduce their sentence if they come from a deprived or disadvantaged background. It also ruled that this was one of several factors that judges had to consider, including the seriousness of an offence and the extent to which the victim has been harmed." Jane Lee, Legal Affairs Reporter for The Age
* ABC NEWS VIDEO: INDIGENOUS DISADVANTAGE DOES NOT DIMINISH OVER TIME, HIGH COURT RULES
ABC News: Indigenous disadvantage does not diminish over time, High Court rules
Decision could mean less Indigenous in prison
By Gordon Taylor
2 Oct 13: "Ms Graham [Felicity Graham from the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service] says the court's decision was being watched closely by Indigenous Australians and lawyers around the country. Ms Graham says the court's ruling could bring down the number of Indigenous Australians in prison. "The High Court has directed sentencing courts to give full weight to the background factors relating to Aboriginality and social disadvantage and so this certainly could have an impact on the trends of over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system," she said."
- Related Video
NITV News: High Court considers Aboriginality in sentencing
The High Court today ruled that the experiences of Aboriginal people must be considered when handing down sentences.
By Brooke Boney
2 Oct 13: "The decision was in relation to an assault case involving an Aboriginal man from Wilcannia in Western New South Wales. The High Court ruled that in the case of Mr William Bugmy, history of incarceration and exposure to violence must be considered."
* SBS RADIO NEWS: ABORIGINALITY AND SETTING A SENTENCE
SBS Radio News: Aboriginality and setting a sentence
By Ron Sutton
2 Oct 13: "The High Court has confirmed that Aboriginality and a socially deprived background can be lasting factors to consider in sentencing. ... The case of William Bugmy had been heralded as the first chance in decades to firmly establish that the tribulations of Aboriginality in Australia should be a factor in setting prison terms. Now, William Bugmy -- well, the Aboriginal Legal Service -- has had its day in court. And it's walked away happy. Ron Sutton reports."
* CLARE RAWLINSON, ABC NEWS: MANDATORY SENTENCING [LAWS IN THE NT] BLOCKS DISADVANTAGE RULING [BY THE HIGH COURT]
ABC News: Mandatory sentencing blocks disadvantage ruling
3 Oct 13: "An Aboriginal legal service lawyer says a High Court decision that Indigenous disadvantage should be taken into account in sentencing is not likely to have any impact in the Northern Territory. The High Court of Australia yesterday ruled that disadvantage should be taken into consideration when sentencing a 31-year-old Aboriginal man from Wilcannia in NSW. Jonathon Hunyor from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) says mandatory sentencing laws in the Territory often prevent judges from using discretion in sentencing people from disadvantaged backgrounds, whether they are Aboriginal or not." By Clare Rawlinson
- Related News
newsTracker: High Court rules on Indigenous sentencing
2 Oct 13: "NATIONAL: The High Court has dismissed an appeal from an Aboriginal man who sought to have an extended jail sentence overturned on the grounds it hadn’t taken into account his disadvantaged background as an Aboriginal person. ... "While it was relevant to take into consideration an offender’s circumstances of severe social disadvantage, the High Court held that the same sentencing principles must be applied in every case irrespective of an offender’s identity or … membership of an ethnic or other group," the court said in a statement." AAP
* THE WIRE AUDIO: HIGH COURT SAYS INDIGENOUS DISADVANTAGE DOES NOT DIMISH
The Wire: High court says Indigenous disadvantage does not dimish
Produced by Sean Jelinek
2 Oct 13: "Today the High Court of Australia made an historic decision recognizing that the disadvantage suffered by Indigenous Australians must be taken into consideration when sentencing in a criminal court. While many are rejoicing at the outcome of the case, there are those that say the High Court's decision does not go far enough.
Featured in story:
* Felicity Graham - Aboriginal Legal Service
* Debbie Kilroy - Indigenous rights activist and CEO of Sisters Inside"
* LET'S TALK'S TIGA BAYLES INTERVIEWS PRISCILLA COLLINS, CEO OF THE NORTH AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL JUSTICE AGENCY, ABOUT ABORIGINAL IMPRISONMENT
- Audio Interview
Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane:
Let's Talk - Priscilla Collins
27 Sep 13: "CEO of the National Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency
Links: http://www.naaja.org.au/ "
Listen to this interview on-line:
* SBS ABORIGINAL AUDIO: NAMING AND SHAMING YOUNG OFFENDERS
- Audio Interview
SBS Aboriginal: Naming and Shaming Young Offenders
By Marc Tong and Hannah Sinclair
27 Sep 13: "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will be hardest hit by Queensland's new juvenile laws. ... New laws in Queensland will see repeat offenders as young as 10 being publicly named. The state government says the hard line approach is needed to crack down on youth crime. In Queensland, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young offenders are already 30 times more likely to be in detention than non-Indigenous young offenders. How will publicly naming an already over-represented group of children aid in reducing crime rates?"
* PERTH NOW: WA PRISONERS COST $115,000 A YEAR EACH NEW FIGURES SHOW
Perth Now: WA prisoners cost $115,000 a year each new figures show
1 Oct 13: "IT costs $317 per day - or more than $115,000 a year - to keep each prisoner locked up in West Australian jails, new figures have revealed. And it is even more expensive to keep a young offender behind bars. After a horror year for the state's Department of Corrective Services (DoCS), including a riot at WA's only juvenile detention centre, it has also been revealed that the cost to keep prisoners locked up has shot up in 2012/13." AAP
* GERRY GEORGATOS, THE STRINGER: KIMBERLEY'S ABORIGINAL PEOPLES OLD AT 45 YEARS
- Analysis / Opinion
The Stringer: Kimberley's Aboriginal peoples old at 45 years
3 Oct 13: "Incarceration, homelessness and suicide rates are all up among Aboriginal peoples ... Kimberley Aboriginal Lore and Cultural Centre (KALACC) coordinator Wes Morris has worked alongside hundreds of the Kimberley’s Aboriginal peoples year in year out and particularly through the Yiriman project which seeks to engage at-risk individuals through cultural identity. He said the assimilationist attacks on cultural identity go to the heart of whether there is well-being – the loss of culture is indisputably linked to a loss of self-esteem and self-worth. People disengage and dissociate from normative life-settings." By Gerry Georgatos, a life-long human rights and social justice campaigner, a multi-award winning investigative journalist
* BACKGROUND TO JUSTICE REINVESTMENT, ABORIGINAL IMPRISONMENT AND ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY:
Last updated: 4 October 2013
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