Pressure group call for closure of youth incarceration

MEG BOLTON

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Aboriginal Flag. Photo: Flickr (Greens MPs) 

Pressure group ‘Shut Youth Prisons Mparntwe’ have called for an International week of action aimed at closing youth prisons and putting an end to deaths in incarceration.

The week of action set for September 24 to 30 will see protesters aim to shut down CBDs around the country in an effort to shed light on the issues indigenous people face within the prison system.

Self-advocate and former inmate, Vicki Roache, hopes the week will gain public awareness and the attention of Canberra MPs.

“The only way to force the government to hear what we are saying is to make them,” Ms Roache said.

“It is time we stop children being traumatised in juvenile detention centres.

“We call for the government to have a Royal Commission into the entirety of the incarceration system and into treatment of aboriginal people.”

Ms Roache features in the video the group recently posted on Facebook, and says the problem has existed for a long time.

“I sit next to Dylan Voller, 40 years difference between us and we are going through a Royal Commission into what happened to me but they’re doing the same thing now,” Ms Roache said.

Shut Youth Prisons Mparntwe said there has beenover 355 deaths in custody occurring since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody,  but little action taken since .

Ms Roche said she thought shutting detention centres and sending youth back to country would create an end to all deaths in custody.

“The alternatives to prison is to take young people out to the homelands, and we are here to offer our homeland as one of those first alternatives,” Ms Roche said. 

Indigenous lives lost in custody will also be remembered over the week with the anniversaries of deaths of Wayne Fella Morrison and John Pat in late September.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills, Yvette D’ath was contacted to comment but did not respond.

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