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Anderson: Cuts to Aboriginal Legal Aid budget deny natural justice and rights of appeal

The recent cuts by the Commonwealth government to the Aboriginal Legal Aid budget demonstrate the need for Aboriginal people to change the way they do business with governments.

These cuts to legal aid will also deny people of their natural legal right to appeal severity of sentencing and to appeal the facts presented by police, etc. There will be others who will no longer have access to the Court of Criminal Appeal from within prison. The underfunded pilot diversionary programs being introduced are no substitute for natural justice. [node:read-more:link]

Jail rate for First Nations children is soaring at an alarming rate

Aboriginal youth repeat offender

Figures show that the number of First Nations children being jailed is rising enormously, as the tide of social dysfunction in urban and regional centres has never been properly addressed.

More than 250 indigenous youth in northwestern New South Wales have been sentenced to juvenile prison terms during the past five years compared with only 12 non-Aboriginal children, The Australian newspaper reported.

Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show the national rate of Aboriginal juvenile incarceration has risen to 31 times the non-indigenous rate and rising.

First Nations man falsely arrested and treated for schizophrenia

Police arrested an innocent First Nations man and dropped him off at a psychiatric institute in Western Australia who shot him up with so many drugs he had to be taken to a hospital in dire need of medical attention.
The Graylands Psychiatric Hospital staff didn't bother checking him out properly and gave him very powerful anti-psychotic medications which caused the man to develop severe adverse reactions and was treated for medication poisoning.    [node:read-more:link]

Nine out of ten people in Western Australian youth detention are severely impaired

Nine out of ten people in Western Australian youth detention are severely impaired in at least one area of brain function such as memory, language, attention, and executive function (planning and understanding consequences). Such deficits would strongly impact on their ability to conform with legal instructions, and with other aspects of the justice system such as being interviewed in court. New research published also found one in three of the young people assessed had fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. [node:read-more:link]

Treating the cause of crime more effective than only addressing the crime itself

WA Imprisonment rates

With WA Corrective Services spending more than $900 million last financial year and 39 per cent of imprisoned offenders returning to jail within a two year period, Associate Professor Sarah Murray from UWA's Law School said new approaches were needed using local knowledge and bringing the community into the picture. Researchers from The University of Western Australia's Law School have been studying the feasibility model and propose a one stop shop that includes a court, crime prevention team and key support services in partnership with the local community [node:read-more:link]

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