Sydney Criminal Lawyers: First Nations Prison Rate Climbs, Despite Drop in Overall Inmate Numbers

The NSW Bureau of Crimes Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) just released its state custody figures for June 2022, which indicate that inmate numbers have continued on with their downward spiral that commenced at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mid-year, there were 12,336 adult prisoners in the NSW correctional system, whilst prior to the onset of the coronavirus, in June 2019, there were 13,403 people inside this state’s prisons, marking a drop of over 1,000 prisoners.

But, in stark contrast, the number of First Nations inmates has continued to rise. Since March, an additional 117 adult Aboriginal people had been incarcerated in state gaols. This led to 3,581 First Nations adults inside in June, as compared with 3,474 back in mid-2019.

Regarding deaths in custody, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties' page for IDIC at 498 since the Royal Commission into such deaths handed down its final report in 1991.

At the time the Royal Commission handed down its comprehensive 339 recommendations on how to prevent First Nations custodial deaths in 1991, 14 percent of the nation’s adult prisoner population was Indigenous. Yet, 30 years on, this has more than doubled to 31 percent.

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