Open letter from the NSW Legal Sector
Dear Attorneys General,

As representatives of the legal sector in NSW, we call upon the Australian and NSW governments to recognise and address the shameful incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the most incarcerated people in the world, by percentage of population (2,346 per 100,000).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 24 per cent of the total prison population in NSW and 27 per cent of prisoners in Australia. This is despite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people representing just 2.8 per cent of the total NSW population and 2.5 per cent of the total Australian population.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are the fastest growing cohort of those imprisoned, accounting for 34 per cent of women imprisoned in Australia.

Since the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991, the imprisonment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has worsened. Inquiry after inquiry has found that our criminal laws disproportionately impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It’s time for change.

The Australian and NSW Governments must, as a matter of urgency, work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities to identify service gaps and barriers to access to justice. This should include provision of adequate funding for culturally appropriate legal assistance and interpreter services.

This includes implementing more culturally-appropriate early intervention and prevention programs that address the complex legal and non-legal issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including housing, disability, mental health, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and family violence.

As a first step, we the undersigned urge the swift and coordinated governmental action to implement the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Inquiry into Incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Sincerely (as of 28 May 2018)

ORGANISATIONS
The Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT
Community Legal Centres NSW
The Law Society of NSW
Kingsford Legal Centre
NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS)
Just Reinvest NSW
Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation
Domestic Violence NSW
NSW Council for Civil Liberties
Amnesty International, Australia

Centre for Crime, Law & Justice UNSW
National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC)
Illawarra Legal Centre
Far West Community Legal Centre
Hunter Community Legal Centre
National Children and Youth Law Centre
Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre
Inner City Legal Centre
Australian Pro Bono Centre
Public Interest Advocacy Centre

Women's Legal Service NSW
Redfern Legal Centre
Animal Defenders Office
Western NSW Community Legal Centre
Justice Connect
Tenants' Union of NSW
Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre
Macquarie University Social Justice Clinic
Macarthur Legal Centre
Immigration Advice & Rights Centre (IARC)

Marrickville Legal Centre
Refugee Advice & Casework Service (Australia)
Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre
Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre
Advocacy Law Alliance
Disability Advocacy NSW
Centre for Law and Justice, Charles Sturt University
Aboriginal Drug & Alcohol Council SA Aboriginal Corporation
University of Newcastle Legal Centre
Monongo Support Services

Penrith Women's Health Centre
Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service NSW
Warrina Domestic and Family Violence Speacilist Services
Coast Shelter
Carrie's Place Domestic Violence and Homelessness Services
Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia
Domestic Violence Service Management (DVSM)
Salvation Army
Western NSW Community Legal Centre
Homelessness NSW

Arts Law Centre of Australia
HIV/AIDS Legal Centre
Welfare Rights Centre
Financial Rights Legal Centre
Uniting Aboriginal & Islander Christian Congress NSW/ACT
Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre

INDIVIDUALS
Doug Humpreys - President, Law Society of NSW
Jonathon Hunyor - CEO, Public Interest Advo
Bronwyn Ambrogetti - Managing Solicitor, Hunter Community Legal Centre
Mitchell S Harvey - Solicitor, Hunter Community Legal Centre
Kathrina Balston
Rae Fiechter - Office Manager, Central Coast Community Legal Centre
Kimbah Pengelly - Solicitor, Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre
Janet Osborne - Lawyer, Hume Riverina Community Legal Service
Julia Adamski - Solicitor, Western NSW Community Legal Centre
Beth Simpson - Lawyer, Hume Riverina Community Legal Centre

Paul Smyth - Residential Parks Solicitor, Tenants' Union of NSW
Amy Griffiths
Rebecca Simon - Aboriginal Legal Access Worker, Illawarra Legal Centre
Anita Will
Karen Bowley - Community Lawyer, Hume Riverina Community Legal Service
Najette Alaraibi
Ned Cooper
James Leaver - Barrister
Thomas Woods - Barrister
Jacqueline Rozario - JD Law Student

Duhita Lewsi - volunteer, Hunter Community Legal Centre
Tim Hammond - barrister, Samuel Griffiths Chambers
Chris Cunneen - Professor of Criminology, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research
Tony Nikolic - solicitor
David Turner - president, NSW Young Lawyers
Janette Pritchard
Edward Wilkes - Associate Professor
Christine Paulinich
Melanie Schwartz, Senior Lecturer, UNSW Law
Larissa Andelman - solicitor

Richard Battley - Barrister-At-Law, Sir Samuel Griffith Chambers
Moo Baulch - CEO, Domestic Violence NSW
Tracy McLeod Howe - CEO, NSW Council of Social Service
Kajhal McIntyre - Legal Researcher, Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia
Jodi Burnstein - Barnardos Australia
Renata Field - Director, Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service
Shayne Silvers - Operations Manager, Coast Shelter
Karen Willis
Emma Wood - Coordinator, Shoalcoast Community Centre
Alexandra Payne-Baggs

Millie Ingram
Alexandra Rose - Barrister
Sharyn Hall - Barrister, Samuel Griffith Chambers

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