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New data recently released in New South Wales has shed light on a concerning trend – the number of Aboriginal adults and young people in state prisons has reached its highest levels on record. The figures reveal that Aboriginal adults now make up 31% of the prison population, raising alarms about meeting the targets set to Close the Gap in Indigenous incarceration rates.

Of particular worry is the fact that two-thirds of the youth detention population in NSW are Aboriginal young people, with many detained for offenses such as break and enter and car theft. This situation has sparked strong reactions from advocates like Nadine Miles, the principal legal officer at the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), who deems this crisis as unacceptable.

Criticism is also aimed at the NSW government for policies that are viewed as contributing to the mass incarceration of Aboriginal individuals. There are calls for a shift towards community-focused approaches to reducing crime rates, rather than relying solely on punitive measures. The government’s proposed tough crime measures, such as knife-wanding laws and bail legislation, have faced scrutiny for their potential impact on vulnerable populations and their effectiveness in addressing the root causes of crime.

The state government’s response to these challenges is crucial, with calls for more comprehensive initiatives to address the underlying issues driving crime rates, particularly within Indigenous communities. It remains to be seen whether policy changes will be made to tackle this pressing issue and ensure a more equitable justice system for all individuals in New South Wales.


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Article Title: ‘We should all be furious’: Aboriginal people make up record 31% of adult prison population in NSW
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