Page created by Samuel Palmer
PwC’s Indigenous

                    May 2017

Unlock the facts

Throughout this report, the term ‘Indigenous’ is used to refer to both Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people. The term ‘Aboriginal’ is retained when it is part of the title of a report, program or quotation.

  The information, statements, statistics and commentary contained in this report have been prepared by PwC from the
  available public information at the time. PwC may, at its absolute discretion and without any obligation to do so, update,
  amend or supplement this document.

  PwC does not express an opinion as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, the assumptions made by
  the parties that provided the information or any conclusions reached by those parties. PwC disclaims any and all liability
  arising from actions taken in response to this report. PwC, its employees, and any persons associated with the preparation
  of the enclosed documents are in no way responsible for any errors or omissions in the enclosed document resulting from
  any inaccuracy, misdescription or incompleteness of information provided or from assumptions made or opinions reached
  by the parties that provided information.
                                                                                    Change the Record has been calling
                                                                                    for a shift towards investing in
                                                                                    early intervention, prevention and
                                           Richmond and the KGI would like          diversion initiatives. These are
Richmond Football Club and                                                          smarter solutions that increase
                                           to thank the other partners that
the Korin Gamadji Institute                                                         safety, address the root causes
                                           participated in the development of
Richmond Football Club (RFC)               this report for their dedication and     of violence against women, cut
and the Korin Gamadji Institute            enthusiasm to unlock the facts and       reoffending and imprisonment
(KGI) are pleased to have worked           breakout the solutions.                  rates, and build stronger and
collaboratively with PwC, PwC’s                                                     safer communities.
                                           Brendon Gale, CEO of
Indigenous Consulting (PIC) and                                                     This report backs up our key calls
                                           Richmond Football Club and
Change the Record to develop this                                                   and has outlined a compelling case
                                           Aaron Clark, Director of the
important piece of work. This report                                                for governments at all levels to
                                           Korin Gamadji Institute
highlights a significant issue in this                                              act decisively, in partnership with
country that cannot be ignored                                                      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
and, importantly, it recommends            Change the Record                        people and their communities, to
actions that will drive meaningful         Change the Record was established        address this national crisis.
change. Indigenous incarceration           in recognition that the rates at which
is a complex issue. The human                                                       The current piecemeal approach isn’t
                                           Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
impact is immeasurable and the                                                      working. We need a comprehensive,
                                           people are experiencing violence
economic impact staggering. This                                                    co-ordinated and holistic approach,
                                           and being put in prison has reached
report breaks the issue down and                                                    which involves leadership and
                                           a crisis point. These issues are some
the unavoidable conclusion is                                                       partnership from the Federal, state
                                           of the most pressing social justice
that a different approach needs                                                     and territory governments to shift
                                           challenges facing Australia.
to be taken.                                                                        more investment into preventative
                                           This is devastating lives and comes      and early intervention approaches.
From the point of view of RFC              at an enormous cost – both socially
and the KGI, it reaffirms the                                                       We know many of the solutions are
                                           and economically – affecting not
critical nature of the work we                                                      already there. Now we need to make
                                           only the individual, but also their
do and the importance of taking                                                     it happen, and do so in a way that
                                           family and whole community. It is
a proactive approach that will                                                      empowers Aboriginal and Torres
                                           clear that a different approach and
drive generational change. Each                                                     Strait Islander people, communities
                                           urgent action is needed.
year we work with hundreds of                                                       and services to drive these solutions.
young Aboriginal and Torres Strait         The social impact of a reduction
                                                                                    Shane Duffy and Antoinette
Islanders on leadership, cultural          in imprisonment rates would be
                                                                                    Braybrook, Co-Chairs of the
affirmation and resilience, all critical   significant, changing lives and
                                                                                    Change the Record Coalition
protective factors that reduce the         transforming communities. However
likelihood of incarceration. It must       this important collaborative report,
be an investment priority, along           produced in partnership with PwC,
with other important opportunities         PIC, RFC and KGI, plays a key role
outlined in the report.                    in highlighting the significant
                                           economic impact, and potential
                                           savings for Governments and in turn
                                           the tax payer.

                                                                                    Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 3
Purpose of this report
Indigenous incarceration in
                                  Executive summary
Australia has been the subject
of many thorough and well
evidenced reports and reviews     Disproportionate rates of                                Indigenous Australians are
                                                                                           dramatically over-represented in
over the past three decades       Indigenous imprisonment
including the landmark Royal                                                               the criminal justice system, in each
                                  are unfair, unsafe and                                   state and territory. While Indigenous
Commission into Aboriginal
Deaths in Custody.                unaffordable, but it doesn’t                             people represent only 3 per cent of
                                  have to be that way                                      Australia’s total population, they
Our report contributes new                                                                 make up more than 27 per cent
economic modelling to the         In the twenty-six years since the                        of our prison population and
evidence base. It estimates       report of the Royal Commission                           55 per cent of the youth detention
the costs of Indigenous           into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody                        population.1
incarceration and the             was tabled in the Parliament of
potential savings if Indigenous   Australia, the proportion of the
incarceration rates were no       prison population that is Indigenous
different to those of the non-    has doubled.
Indigenous population.
                                  Figure 1: Indigenous incarceration in Australia, by state and territory
The high, and growing, rates
of Indigenous incarceration
has a heavy impact on
individuals, families,
communities, and the
Australian economy but it
doesn’t have to be this way.
Our modelling suggests that
implementing a holistic suite
of initiatives would contribute                              38%                                              3%
significantly to closing the                          2%
gap between Indigenous
and non-Indigenous rates of
incarceration, but this alone                                                               19%
would not be enough.
Closing the gap requires                                                                                             2%

systemic change, as well                                                                                                      24%
as smarter investment in                                                                                                 1%
programmatic solutions with                                                                                   1%

Indigenous Australians having               Indigenous Australians as a proportion of
                                            the population (adults)
ownership and control over                                                                                                    16%
program settings.                           Indigenous Australians as a proportion of
                                            the prison population (adults)
This report seeks to raise
awareness of, and calls
                                  Source: ABS, Productivity Commission
for action to address, the
disproportionate rates of
Indigenous incarceration          1.   ABS (2013). Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2011. Canberra: ABS;
                                       ABS (2016). Prisoners in Australia, 2016. Canberra: ABS; AIHW (2017). Youth justice in Australia 2015-
across Australia.                      16. Table S75a: Young people in detention on an average day by sex and Indigenous status, states and
                                       territories, 2015–16. AIHW Bulletin no. 139. Cat. No. AUS 211. Canberra: AIHW.

4 | PwC
This gap between the rates of                             Incarceration can also lead to loss of
Indigenous incarceration and                              culture, identity and connection to
non-Indigenous incarceration is                           the land. The cycle of disadvantage,
fundamentally unfair.                                     poverty and incarceration continues,
                                                          making communities less safe in
On any given day, there are around                        the long run.
10,000 Indigenous adults in prison
(including roughly 1,000 women),                          As well as the human impact,
500 Indigenous youth in detention                         this report also finds that high
and many more Indigenous people in                        incarceration rates significantly
custody in police cells.2                                 impacts the Australian economy.
The high numbers of Indigenous                            This report calls for action to
people in prison has consequences                         address this unfair, unsafe and
for virtually all Indigenous people.                      unaffordable situation.
It impacts the individuals who
are incarcerated, as well as                              Our report shows that reducing
their families and communities.                           disproportionate Indigenous
Children with a parent in prison are                      incarceration rates is the right
particularly vulnerable, increasing                       and the fair thing to do, that
their risk of contact with the justice                    it will increase community
system later in life.                                     safety, and that it will contribute
                                                          to reducing expenditure of
                                                          Australian governments.

Figure 2: Australian imprisonment rates

     Indigenous men are imprisoned at 11 times the rate of the general male population

      General male population                        Indigenous men

     Indigenous women are imprisoned at 15 times the rate of the general female population

      General female population                      Indigenous women

     Indigenous youth are imprisoned at 25 times the rate of non-indigenous youth

      Non-Indigenous youth                           Indigenous children and youth

Source: ABS (2016). Corrective services, Australia, June quarter 2016. Canberra: ABS; AIHW 2017. Youth justice in Australia 2015–16. AIHW
Bulletin no. 139. Cat. no. AUS 211. Canberra: AIHW.

2.    ABS (2016). Corrective Services, Australia, June Quarter 2016. Canberra: ABS; AIHW (2017). Youth justice in Australia 2015–16. Table S85a: Young people
      aged 10–17 in detention on an average day by Indigenous status, states and territories, 2006–07 to 2015–16 (rate). AIHW Bulletin no. 139. Cat. no. AUS 211.
      Canberra: AIHW.

                                                                                                                  Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 5
PwC, PwC’s Indigenous                                 Through our partnership we                            We hope that our work will also
Consulting (PIC), Change the                          leveraged the skills of each of the                   inform two major government
                                                      organisations to contribute to                        reviews that are currently
Record, Richmond Football                             the existing knowledge base and                       underway: the Australian Law
Club and the Korin Gamadji                            increase awareness of Indigenous                      Reform Commission’s Inquiry into
Institute have come together                          incarceration in four ways:                           the incarceration rate of Aboriginal
to show our commitment                                1. Economic modelling to quantify                     and Torres Strait Islander peoples
                                                         the current and projected economic                 and the Royal Commission into the
to tackling this issue and to                                                                               Protection and Detention of Children
make a new contribution to                               costs of Indigenous incarceration
                                                         rates (refer to section 3).                        in the Northern Territory.
the existing knowledge base
                                                      2. Detailed research to identify
This work coincides with three                                                               We have looked beyond the
                                                         effective ways to reduce
significant milestones in Australia’s                    Indigenous incarceration rates      justice system to identify the
reconciliation journey – the 50th                        (refer to section 4).               key drivers of high Indigenous
anniversary of the 1967 referendum,                                                          incarceration rates, and to
                                                      3. Modelling the impact of
the 25th anniversary of the Mabo
decision, and the 20th anniversary
                                                         implementing a range of             make a case for a holistic
                                                         initiatives would have on the costs approach to the issue
of the Bringing them Home report. It
                                                          of Indigenous incarceration (refer
is a timely opportunity to celebrate                                                                        As an ongoing consequence of
                                                          to section 6). It is important to
achievements, but also to drive                                                                             colonisation and dispossession,
                                                          note that we have not undertaken
change in areas which continue to be                                                                        and the social impacts that
                                                          a full cost benefit analysis
in serious need of reform.                                                                                  followed, Indigenous people are
                                                          although this would be important
Our five organisations, PwC, PIC,                         future work.                                      the most disadvantaged group
Change the Record, the Richmond                                                                             in Australia on a number of
                                                      4. A public awareness campaign to
Football Club and the Korin Gamadji                                                                         indicators.3 Our research shows
                                                         communicate the findings of the
Institute, have a shared interest in                                                                        there is a strong link between
                                                         project and the need for urgent
tackling this important national                                                                            intergenerational disadvantage,
                                                         and major action to address high
issue that affects the lives of many                                                                        poverty and incarceration.
                                                         Indigenous incarceration rates.
Indigenous people.

Figure 3: Key drivers of Indigenous incarceration


        Disability                                                                                                    Contact with
                                                                                                Previous contact     justice system
                                                                                                  with justice
                                        Poverty &                                                    system
                                      disadvantage                          Substance
                                                                              abuse                                                              Police

            Housing                                                                                                  Relationship
                                                                     Social                                         with the justice
                                                                 exclusion and
                                                                                           Additional                   system
                                    causes                          racism                   factors
                                                                                           related to
                                                                                           the justice
                                  of trauma                                                                         Recidivism

                                                                              Access to legal
                                                                                                    Legal policy
                 Inter-                             Child                                             settings
              generational                        protection
                             Family violence/
                               sexual abuse

3.   Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2017). Closing the Gap: Prime Minister’s Report 2017.
     sites/default/files/ctg-report-2017.pdf. Accessed April 2017.

6 | PwC
Tackling economic and social                              Our modelling shows that                                    While our modelling shows
         disadvantage, increasing income                           Indigenous incarceration is costing                         that investing in a range of
         equality and improving access to                          the Australian economy $7.9 billion
         high-quality health, education,                           per year and this cost is rising.
                                                                                                                               initiatives will reduce the rate
         employment and housing can                                This comprises whole of economy                             of incarceration, this alone
         directly influence rates of offending.                    impacts including loss of productive                        will not close the gap. Action
         That’s why our report takes a holistic                    output (economic costs) as well as                          is required across a broader
         approach and emphasises the                               separating out the direct costs to
         importance of addressing the key                          governments (fiscal costs) as set out
                                                                                                                               range of areas
         drivers of Indigenous incarceration.                      in Figure 4.4                                               Reducing the rates at which
                                                                                                                               Indigenous children, young people,
         Although there are factors within                         If nothing is done to address
                                                                                                                               men and women are imprisoned in
         the justice system that, if addressed,                    disproportionately high rates of
                                                                                                                               Australia is a complex challenge. We
         could help close the gap between                          Indigenous incarceration, this cost
                                                                                                                               know from the evidence that there
         Indigenous and non-Indigenous                             will rise to $9.7 billion per year in
                                                                                                                               are no simple or straightforward
         rates of incarceration, addressing                        2020 and $19.8 billion per year
                                                                                                                               solutions, and the issue requires a
         the key drivers that lead to offending                    in 2040 (section 3). Closing the
                                                                                                                               multi-pronged approach.
         and contact with the justice                              gap between Indigenous and non-
         system in the first place has the                         Indigenous rates of incarceration                           Evaluations show that initiatives
         greatest potential for impact in the                      would generate savings to the                               and programs exist that are effective
         longer term.                                              economy of $18.9 billion per year                           in reducing the incarceration
                                                                   in 2040.                                                    rates. Despite this, a program or
         Our economic modelling                                    Further detail on our economic
                                                                                                                               initiative based response alone is
         shows the cost to the                                                                                                 not enough. Indigenous Australians
                                                                   modelling is provided in
                                                                                                                               must have control, ownership and
         Australian economy of                                     sections 3 and 6.
                                                                                                                               involvement in the solutions. Arming
         Indigenous incarceration                                                                                              the Australian community with the
         is almost $8 billion                                                                                                  facts that sit behind this challenge is
         ($7.9 billion) per year                                                                                               also important.
         and rising

         Figure 4: Estimated costs of Indigenous incarceration in 2016

                                                                                                                                                         Unquantified costs,
                                                                                                                                                         • Loss of culture
                                                                                                                                                         • Marginalisation
                                                                                                                                                         • Isolation
                                                                                                                                                         • Absence from
                                                                                                                                                            community and family
                                                                                                              $1,148.2                                   Total quantified costs

                              Fiscal costs

                                  $62.5               $16.2


$2,000        $3,931.3

              Justice           Welfare            Forgone         Cost of Crime         Loss of         Excess               Unquantified
                                                   taxation                          productive output Burden of tax             costs

         4.   Fiscal costs relate to actual expenditure, economic costs include actual expenditure, as well as productivity losses related to lost output.

                                                                                                                               Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 7
Addressing the key drivers of           5. Initiatives and programs: In                               The current reliance on mainstream
Indigenous incarceration such              addition to broader system level                           services needs to shift, with the
as poverty, disadvantage and               reform, specific initiatives and                           optimal scenario one in which
experiences of trauma requires             programmatic responses are                                 Indigenous communities own and
broader system reform. Law reform          required – particularly Indigenous                         deliver more of their own services
is also needed.                            community controlled and led                               and initiatives. Under such a
                                           initiatives.                                               scenario, ACCOs would play a
Key elements of the approach                                                                          key role.
required are outlined in Figure 5.
The outer ring of this diagram          Self determination
represents the key foundations of the                                                                 System reform
                                        The evidence is clear that
recommended approach. The central       community involvement in the                                  Research points to the interlinked
pyramid provides a categorisation       design and delivery of programs                               nature of the causes and the factors
framework of potential initiative       is important. This requires more                              leading to over-representation of
or program responses. In summary        than consultation and includes                                Indigenous Australians in prison.
components of our recommended           community ownership and control.                              These include poverty, disadvantage,
approach are:                                                                                         lower levels of educational
                                        Across each state and territory,                              attainment, higher incidence of
1. Self-determination: Like all         ACCOs have been established
   Australians, Indigenous people                                                                     mental and cognitive disabilities,
                                        to deliver culturally aware and                               higher incidence of involvement
   have a right to determine their      responsive health, legal, housing,
   own political, economic, social                                                                    with the child protection system,
                                        childcare and other human                                     lack of employment opportunities
   and cultural development. This       services to Indigenous people.
   human right is an essential                                                                        and access to housing.
                                        These community owned, culturally
   approach to overcoming               aware and responsive environments                             System-wide reform is required.
   Indigenous disadvantage and          provide a safe setting for Indigenous                         This includes accountability for the
   includes building connections        people to access services as there                            achievement of outcomes consistent
   to culture and a strong role for     is long-standing trust and respect                            with the broader Closing the
   Aboriginal Community Controlled      between ACCOs and communities.                                Gap targets.
   Originations (ACCOs) in the
   formation of any solutions.
2. System reform: The key
   drivers of over-representation
   of Indigenous people in prisons      Figure 5: Responses and solutions: a holistic response is needed
   will not be addressed by a single
   initiative or program. Instead,
   whole of system solutions are
                                                                   on                                              2.
   required across a range of
                                                               nati                                                   Sy
   traditional government policy                              i                                                         ste
   and portfolio areas, including                           rm

   education, health, human

   services, welfare and justice.

                                                                                           system and

3. Law reform: This includes                                            delivered within
                                            1. S

                                                                        the justice

   consideration of changes to                                          system

   laws and legal policy settings                                                          intervention
   which contribute to the over-
   representation of Indigenous
   people in prison.                                Initiatives                                Early
                                                    delivered outside                      intervention
4. Increased community                              of the justice
                                          4. Inc

   awareness: Despite landmark
                                                                                               Universal /
   reports, inquiries and reviews                                                              prevention
   such as the Royal Commission
                                           re a

   into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody,
   the level of understanding in
                                             se d

   the Australian community
                                                                        5. Initiatives and programs

   of the issues, causes, rates


   and consequences of over-

   representation of Indigenous                                 ity                                                     L   aw
   men, women, children and young                                       aw                                           3.
   people remains limited. The facts                                           a re
                                                                                       n ess
   need to be unlocked. In order for
   change to happen, there needs to
   be broader community awareness.

8 | PwC
In 2016, the Australian Senate                        What is needed is a nationally                        As part of a blueprint for change,
passed a motion which called on                       agreed set of Closing the Gap                         Change the Record has proposed
Commonwealth, state and territory                     justice targets. This will support                    that Australian governments work
governments to adopt a set of                         better cooperation, help with the                     with Indigenous communities and
justice targets aimed at closing                      development and monitoring of long                    organisations to set justice targets,
the gap in rates of incarceration                     term strategies and investments,                      and reduce the disproportionate
between Indigenous and non-                           enable a focus on outcomes, and                       rates of violence experienced by
Indigenous Australians for which                      help drive greater accountability to                  Indigenous people. The target
all levels of government should                       achieve reduced rates of Indigenous                   Change the Record propose is
be held accountable.5 In Victoria,                    incarceration across Australia.                       to halve the gap in the rates of
the Northern Territory, and the                       In addition, improving the collection                 imprisonment between Indigenous
Australian Capital Territory                          of, and access to, good quality data                  and non-Indigenous people by 2030,
Indigenous justice targets have                       to help monitor and track progress                    before closing the gap in 2040.7
been introduced.6                                     is required.

Recommendation 1                                      Recommendation 2                                      Recommendation 3
The right of Indigenous                               A national set of Closing the                         Mainstream services need
communities to self-determination                     Gap justice targets should be                         to be culturally aware and
should underpin the development,                      established to encourage a focus                      responsive to increase access
implementation and ownership                          on outcomes, and to improve                           to, and the effectiveness of,
of strategies and initiatives                         accountability by making visible                      services to reduce the rates of
to address the high rates of                          any progress, or lack thereof,                        Indigenous incarceration
Indigenous incarceration                              in reducing the rates at which
                                                                                                            Many mainstream funding
                                                      Indigenous people are incarcerated
Real change requires a strong                                                                               agreements and grants already
partnership and genuine relationship                  The Commonwealth and state and                        specify that they must deliver
between funders, the justice sector,                  territory Governments should initiate                 culturally aware and responsive
the broader service system and the                    this process through consultation                     services for Indigenous people. This
Indigenous community including                        with the justice sector, Indigenous                   needs to be made more transparent
Indigenous organisations. This can                    organisations, and other key service                  with funded services being required
only be achieved when Indigenous                      sector stakeholders to agree on a set                 to more comprehensively demonstrate
people have a meaningful stake in the                 of national justice targets as part of                how their services are culturally
implementation, design, delivery and                  Closing the Gap.                                      aware and responsive, and being
evaluation of solutions.                                                                                    accessed by Indigenous people.
                                                                                                            Funding bodies should be required
A practical first step to achieve a                                                                         to report on how the agencies they
more meaningful role, and voice,                                                                            fund to deliver services on their
for Indigenous communities in the                                                                           behalf are delivering culturally
implementation of strategies and                                                                            aware and responsive services, and
initiatives is for all governments to                                                                       that action is being taken to address
implement policies that allow for                                                                           any shortcomings.
greater self-determination, including
policies that make Indigenous
organisations the preferred provider
for Indigenous services.

5.   Australian Parliamentary Debates, Senate, no. 6, 19 April 2016, page no. 3052.
6.   Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development (2012). Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018. Melbourne: State Government of
     Victoria; ACT Government (2015). ACT Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander Justice Partnership 2015-18. Canberra: ACT Government; NT Department of Local
     Government and Community Services (2016). Aboriginal affairs: monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework. NT Government. Note: Non-Indigenous specific
     justice targets have also been introduced in New South Wales and South Australia.
7.   Change the Record Coalition (2015). Blueprint for change. The Change the Record Coalition Steering Committee,
     uploads/2016/11/Change-the-Record-Blueprint_web.pdf. Accessed January 2017.

                                                                                                            Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 9
Figure 6: Framework for categorising initiatives

                                                       e m h in

                                                    yst wit
                                                                  system and

                                                                  post-release        Initiatives offered in the prison and juvenile

                                              tic ere
                                                                                        detention systems and post-release

                                         j u s e liv
                                   t he es d


                                                                  intervention               Initiatives to address factors contributing to rates of
                                                                                               incarceration for individuals at-risk of detention
                                                                                                 or incarceration
                       em de
                    yst utsi

              tic ed

                                                                  intervention                        Initiatives to enhance protective factors
           jus liver

                                                                                                       within Indigenous and broader vulnerable
   of ves d

      t he


                                                                                                              Universal access to high quality,
                                                                                                               basic systems and services

In addition, many Indigenous people                                        Increased community                         The initiatives were chosen for the
are reluctant to obtain essential                                          awareness                                   rigour of their evaluation data and
services from mainstream providers                                                                                     are not suggested to represent the
due to limited cultural competence                                         Unlocking the facts and building            most successful initiatives, although
and experiences of racism within                                           community awareness is the first            they do have well documented
mainstream service providers. These                                        step in securing change.                    quantifiable success. These
experiences can lead to future and                                                                                     initiatives are also not representative
                                                                           We believe there is potential to
continued avoidance of mainstream                                                                                      of all possible initiatives which
                                                                           build greater awareness based
service providers.8 While Indigenous                                                                                   could be implemented, and be
                                                                           on facts. These include the social
communities should ideally own                                                                                         effective at reducing the rates of
                                                                           injustice, public safety and economic
and deliver their own services and                                                                                     Indigenous incarceration.
                                                                           impacts of not fixing this situation
initiatives where this is not possible,
                                                                           that can be used by individuals             In summary, our modelling
mainstream services need to be
                                                                           and communities to support and              demonstrates that:
culturally aware and responsive to
                                                                           push for reform to create the
increase the likelihood of Indigenous                                                                                  • the cumulative scenario, entailing
                                                                           change required.
people accessing services, and the                                                                                       investing in all four categories of
effectiveness of these services.                                                                                         initiatives, is the most effective as
                                                                           Initiatives and programs                      it reduces both the new entry rate
Law reform                                                                 A range of initiatives and programs           and rate of recidivism over time.
                                                                           is required across the intervention         • the least effective impact we
Law and justice system reform is a
                                                                           spectrum outlined in Figure 6.                modelled was the prison system
critical component of the response
                                                                                                                         and post release scenario. This
required to reduce Indigenous                                              Initiatives to respond to Indigenous          is because when scaled across
incarceration rates.                                                       incarceration are often associated            Australia the effect size is small
                                                                           with custodial or justice settings.           and only effects the recidivism
The Attorney-General has asked the
Australian Law Reform Commission                                           While these initiatives are important         rate of people who had offended
(ALRC) to examine the factors                                              and play a role in assisting those            and have already entered
leading to the over-representation of                                      who have already come into contact            the system.
Indigenous Australians in the prison                                       with the justice system, our analysis       • the impact of targeted
system, and consider possible law                                          on the key drivers of Indigenous              interventions begin to take effect
reforms in response.                                                       incarceration suggests that a wider           sooner. The effect impacts on both
                                                                           range of initiatives is required.             the rate at which juveniles offend
                                                                           In this report we have modelled the           as adults and also the recidivism
                                                                           impact of implementing a range                rate of adult offenders.
                                                                           of initiatives that could reduce the
                                                                           costs of Indigenous incarceration
                                                                           (refer to section 6).

8.    Weightman, M (2013). The role of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in Indigenous health. Australian Medical Student Journal, 4(1), Accessed March 2017.

10 | PwC
• universal prevention and early                      Part of our approach to the economic                   However, the lack of sufficient data
  intervention become more                            modelling included estimating the                      in relation to Indigenous-specific
  effective than the prison system                    cost savings of investing in a range                   and culturally aware and responsive
  and post release scenario in the                    of initiatives across each of the                      initiatives necessitated the use of
  longer term. This is because                        four categories.                                       some mainstream initiatives.
  the effect size is larger as both
  scenarios impact on the number                      To develop findings from our                           The need to improve the quality of,
  of people entering the prison                       economic modelling, we sought                          and access to, data relating to key
  system for the first time each                      evidence of robust evaluations                         drivers and pathways relating to
  year whereas the prison system                      of initiatives and responses. In                       Indigenous incarceration have been
  scenario only impacts on the                        undertaking our analysis we sought                     reported elsewhere.9
  recidivism rate.                                    to identify and include Indigenous-
                                                      specific initiatives in the modelling
                                                      which were robustly evaluated.

Recommendation 4                                      Recommendation 5                                       Recommendation 6
There needs to be a greater focus,                    There needs to be an enhanced                          Greater innovation, increased
and investment in, prevention                         focus on initiatives such as                           investment and better evaluation
and early intervention initiatives                    throughcare and re-integration                         of new and existing initiatives
that address the key drivers of                       programs that reduce the                               is required to improve access
Indigenous incarceration                              likelihood of reoffending                              to quality data and add to
                                                                                                             the existing knowledge base
To achieve change in this area, it is                 For those who are imprisoned, there
                                                                                                             on initiatives that have the
critical that there be investment in                  needs to be greater opportunities to
prevention and early intervention                     access and participate in programs                     potential to reduce the rates of
initiatives and programs, which will                  and initiatives that improve                           Indigenous incarceration
deliver significant results over the                  the ability of individuals to re-                      To bring the sustained focus needed,
long term.                                            integrate into the community and                       an independent, data and research
                                                      contribute meaningfully. These                         central agency with Indigenous
The environment needs to be                           need to be tailored specifically for
created to give license to decision                                                                          oversight could be established.
                                                      Indigenous people.                                     The role of this body would be to
makers to invest in prevention and
early intervention. This requires a                   An initial step would be for                           coordinate, commission, review and
sustained education campaign to                       governments to work closely                            evaluate initiatives and programs
broaden and deepen community                          with Indigenous organisations to                       designed to reduce the rates of
understanding of key drivers that                     identify, customise and implement                      incarceration for Indigenous people
lead to Indigenous people coming                      initiatives that reduce the likelihood                 focusing on evidence and impact.
into contact with the justice system                  of reoffending.                                        The central agency could also focus
in the first place.                                                                                          on improving the quality of data to
                                                                                                             better support decision making and
To kickstart this process a summit of                                                                        measurement of progress.
key stakeholders, led and convened
by Indigenous organisations, should                                                                          This entity should have flexible
be held to identify and set priorities                                                                       and sustained funding to invest in
for innovative future investment                                                                             innovation, both within the justice
and public awareness. An existing                                                                            system, and solutions that sit outside
opportunity for this, which could be                                                                         of it. It should be a clearing house for
built upon, is the ongoing work of                                                                           ‘what works’. The entity would not
the Redfern Statement Alliance, led                                                                          deliver initiatives itself, but would
by Indigenous peak bodies.                                                                                   commission others to do so.
                                                                                                             The performance of such an agency
                                                                                                             should be monitored and tied to
                                                                                                             Closing the Gap justice targets.

9.   Change the Record Coalition (2015). Blueprint for change. The Change the Record Coalition Steering Committee,
     uploads/2016/11/Change-the-Record-Blueprint_web.pdf. Access 20 January 2017.`

                                                                                                           Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 11
It is important to acknowledge that                    The Girls Football Academy will
this does not mean that Indigenous-                    initially focus on working with
specific initiatives are not, and                      young Indigenous girls across Years
cannot be effective. Rather it                         7 to 12 at four to six schools across
suggests that investment is required                   Victoria and Western Australia for a
in building the evidence base given                    pilot period of two years.
the failure to appropriately fund
evaluations, matched with the short                    The key objective of the program is
term nature of funding cycles.                         to improve the education outcomes
                                                       and overall wellbeing of young
                                                       Indigenous women, and therefore
We have demonstrated                                   reduce the risk of contact with
our commitment to action                               the criminal justice system. This
by establishing a new                                  program will harness the power of
program aimed at young                                 sport in improving outcomes for
                                                       Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous girls
                                                       PwC and PIC have been working on
Reducing the rates at which
                                                       a pro bono basis with the Richmond
Indigenous Australians are
                                                       Football Club and the Korin Gamadji
imprisoned is a complex issue that
                                                       Institute as well as the Wirrpanda
will require the combined efforts of
                                                       Foundation and the West Coast
the public sector, the private sector,
                                                       Eagles Football Club to develop a
NGOs and Indigenous organisations
                                                       business case and secure support
working together.
                                                       and funding for implementation of
In addition to this report, we are                     the Girls Football Academy.
also showing our commitment
                                                       This collaborative approach is
to practical action in this area
                                                       intended to ensure the success and
by partnering to establish
                                                       reach of the program across Western
a pilot program, the Girls
                                                       Australia and Victoria, with the
Football Academy.
                                                       intention of expanding the program
Indigenous women are currently                         into other states and territories in
the fastest growing cohort of the                      the future.
incarcerated population in Australia.
Keeping Indigenous girls in school
will reduce their likelihood of
coming into contact with the justice
system, yet there are few programs
specifically designed for this group.10

10. Higgins, D, and Davis, K (2014). Law and justice: prevention and early intervention programs for Indigenous youth. Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, Resource sheet
    no. 34. Canberra: AIHW;

12 | PwC
Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 13

           Executive summary                                   4

           1.   About the project                              16
                1.1   PwC’s #Purpose campaign                  16
                1.2 Objectives of the project                  16
                1.3 Our approach                               17
           2.   Background and context                         18
                2.1   High rates of Indigenous incarceration   18
                2.2 Key justice-related reports and reviews    22
                2.3 Key drivers of Indigenous incarceration    23
           3.	Economic and social costs of high
               Indigenous incarceration rates                  25
                3.1   Introduction                             25
                3.2	Economic and fiscal costs of Indigenous
                     incarceration                             25
                3.3 Consequences of Indigenous incarceration   31
                3.4	Intergenerational impact of Indigenous
                     incarceration                             32
                3.5 Conclusion                                 33
           4.   Key elements for a holistic approach           34
                4.1   Self-determination                       35
                4.2 System reform                              36
                4.3 Law reform                                 39
                4.4 Increasing community awareness             40
                4.5 Initiatives and programs                   40
           5.	Initiatives to address the disproportionate
               rates of incarceration                          41
                5.1   Introduction                             41
                5.2 Approach                                   42

14 | PwC
5.3 Universal prevention                              42
     5.4 Early intervention                                43
     5.5 Targeted intervention                             45
     5.6 Prison system and post-release                    48
     5.7 Justice Reinvestment                              50
     5.8 Conclusion                                        51
6.   Estimated impact of initiatives                       52
     6.1    Introduction                                   52
     6.2	Universal initiative – universal access
          to four year old pre-school                      54
     6.3	Early intervention – comprehensive child
          and maternal health visits                       55
     6.4	Targeted intervention – holistic case management
          and cognitive behavioural therapy/multisystemic
          therapy for children and young people who offend 56
     6.5	Prison system and post-release interventions –
          employment and healing program                   56
     6.6 Cumulative scenario                               57
     6.7 Closing the gap                                   57
     6.8 Conclusion                                        58
7.   Implications and next steps                           59
     7.1    Key findings                                   59
     7.2    Recommendations                                60
     7.3    Next steps                                     61
     7.4    Commitment to action                           61
Appendix A     Key drivers of Indigenous incarceration     64

Appendix B     Methodology and technical notes             70

Appendix C Summary of assessed initiatives                 83

About Us                                                  95

Disclaimer                                                 95

                                                                Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 15
1. About the project                                                                                         1.2 Objectives of the project
                                                                                                             The objective of this project is
                                                                                                             to raise awareness of, and help
                                                                                                             drive action to address, the
                                                                                                             disproportionate rates of Indigenous
1.1 PwC’s #Purpose                                    This is the largest single pro bono
                                                                                                             incarceration across Australia. While
                                                      investment PwC is making this year
    campaign                                                                                                 the need to address the rates of
                                                      in Australia and reflects both the
                                                                                                             Indigenous incarceration has been
At PwC, our purpose is to build                       importance of the issue as well as
                                                                                                             articulated in a number of reviews
trust in society and solve important                  our commitment to partner with the
                                                                                                             and publications, many of these tend
problems. In 2016, PwC launched a                     Indigenous community to address
                                                                                                             to focus on the justice system.
#Purpose campaign, inviting PwC                       Indigenous disadvantage and create
staff across Australia to put forward                 opportunities for Indigenous people.                   Indigenous Australians are
ideas for projects to invest in that                                                                         dramatically over-represented in
focus on addressing important                                                                                the criminal justice system, and the
societal issues. PwC’s Executive                                                                             situation is getting worse (Figure 7).
Board agreed to invest significantly                                                                         When the Royal Commission into
in the project Indigenous                                                                                    Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
incarceration: unlock the facts.                                                                             (RCIADIC) was released in 1991
                                                                                                             Indigenous Australians represented
                                                                                                             2 per cent of the Australian
                                                                                                             population and 13 per cent of the
                                                                                                             total prison population.11

Figure 7: Australian imprisonment rates

  Indigenous men are imprisoned at 11 times the rate of the general male population

    General male population                       Indigenous men

  Indigenous women are imprisoned at 15 times the rate of the general female population

    General female population                     Indigenous women

  Indigenous youth are imprisoned at 25 times the rate of non-indigenous youth

    Non-Indigenous youth                          Indigenous children and youth

Source: ABS (2016). Corrective services, Australia, June quarter 2016. Canberra: ABS; AIHW 2017. Youth justice in Australia 2015–16. AIHW
Bulletin no. 139. Cat. no. AUS 211. Canberra: AIHW.

11. Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) (1991). Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: National reports [Vol 1-5], and
    regional reports. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.

16 | PwC
Despite representing just 3 per cent                    1.3 Our approach                                        Examination of the international
of the population, Indigenous                                                                                   evidence base was used to identify
Australians now account for                             Our approach included an initial                        initiatives that have shown
27 per cent of the adult prison                         current state review to understand                      statistically significant evidence
population and 55 per cent                              the current issues, and key drivers,                    of outcomes in addressing the key
of children and young people                            contributing to the high rates                          drivers, or rates of, incarceration.
in detention.12                                         of Indigenous incarceration in                          Where possible, initiatives that have
                                                        Australia. This involved exploring                      been implemented in Australia
This project takes an holistic                          reports published in academic                           and/or in Indigenous communities
approach, exploring the key                             journals, as well as by governments                     have been utilised.
drivers of incarceration, as well                       and other organisations. Information
as prevention, intervention and                         was distilled into key themes and                       Promising initiatives with the
justice system initiatives that have                    summarised in a discussion paper                        strongest evidence base, and their
the potential to reduce rates of                        for testing and validating with                         estimated impact, were used as
Indigenous incarceration. In doing                      partners and key stakeholders.                          scenarios to input into the economic
so, this project was designed to                                                                                model in order to demonstrate the
contribute to the existing knowledge                    Building on this current state review,                  potential savings to individuals,
base through:                                           an economic model was developed                         governments and society through
                                                        to quantify the long term cost to                       their implementation in Australia.
• Economic modelling to quantify                        Australia of the disproportionate
  both the current and projected                                                                                The potential savings that could
                                                        rates of incarceration experienced                      be generated if Indigenous
  economic cost of Indigenous                           by Indigenous Australians.
  incarceration rates to Australia                                                                              incarceration rates were the same as
                                                        Incarceration has a lasting impact                      those for non-Indigenous Australians
• Detailed research to identify the                     on the individual and on the next                       has also been modelled.
  most effective ways to reduce                         generation. The interventions can
  Indigenous incarceration rates                        also have a longer pay back period.
• Providing new information                             For these reasons, to capture the full
  on the potential savings from                         impacts of the lifetime costs and the
  implementing initiatives                              full potential cost savings, we have
  that reduce the rate of                               to look at the impacts over a lifetime.
  Indigenous incarceration                              For this reason, the economic
                                                        modelling undertaken in the report
• Creative and compelling ways to                       extends to 2092 which is equivalent
  communicate the findings of the                       to the year that a Aboriginal or
  project and the need for urgent                       Torres Strait Islander person born
  and major action to address                           today would live to.
  Indigenous incarceration rates.

12. ABS (2013). Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2011. Canberra: ABS; ABS (2016). Prisoners in Australia, 2016. Canberra: ABS;
    AIHW (2017). Youth justice in Australia 2015-16. Table S75a: Young people in detention on an average day by sex and Indigenous status, states and territories,
    2015–16. AIHW Bulletin no. 139. Cat. No. AUS 211. Canberra: AIHW.

                                                                                                               Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 17
2. Background and
2.1 High rates of Indigenous                   States and territories
    incarceration                              Indigenous people represent a
                                               greater proportion of the prison
The disproportionate rates of
                                               population than they do the general
Indigenous incarceration in
                                               population in each Australian state
Australia is not a new phenomenon.
                                               and territory (Figure 8).
However, the degree to which
Indigenous Australians are over-
represented has increased over time.
The disproportionate rates
are observed across a range of
demographics, whether across states
and territories, by gender, or in
adults and young people (children
10 to 17 years of age).
Figure 8: Indigenous incarceration in Australia, by state and territory



                                                                     32%              Indigenous Australians
                       38%                                      3%                    as a proportion of the
                                                                                      population (adults)

                                                                                      Indigenous Australians as
                                                                                      a proportion of the prison
                                                                                      population (adults)



                                                                          3%    16%

Source: ABS, Productivity Commission

18 | PwC
Indigenous men and women                                5,000 9: Australian adult incarceration, by gender (rates per 100,000)
In 2015, Indigenous men were                            5,000
11 times as likely to be incarcerated                   4,000
as non-Indigenous men (4,136
per 100,000 compared to 367                             4,000
per 100,000). This disparity has
remained relatively constant since
2000 when Indigenous men were                           2,000
12 times as likely to be incarcerated
when compared to non-Indigenous                         2,000
men (Figure 9).                                         1,000

While representing only 2 per cent                      1,000
of Australian women, Indigenous                             0
                                                                     2000                        2005                          2010
women comprise 34 per cent of the                                                                                                                             2015
female prison population within                                 0
                                                                                        Indigenous males              General 2010
                                                                                                                              male population
                                                                     2000                      2005                                                           2015
Australia. In 2015, the imprisonment
rate for Indigenous women was 443                                                       Indigenous males              General male population
per 100,000 compared to 30 per
100,000 of non-Indigenous women,                          500
meaning Indigenous women were
15 times as likely to be incarcerated                     400
as non-Indigenous women
(Figure 9).                                               400
Detention of Indigenous
young people                                              300
The rates of detention for both
Indigenous and non-Indigenous                             200
young people have declined since                          100
1981, most likely as a result of
changes to legislation and policy,
and the introduction of diversionary                                 2000                        2005                          2010                           2015
programs for young people who                                   0
have offended. However, the rates of                                               Indigenous females         General2010
                                                                                                                      female population
                                                                2000                      2005                                                2015
detention for non-Indigenous young                      Source: ABS (2016). Corrective Services, Australia, June Quarter 2016. Canberra: ABS.
                                                                                   Indigenous females         General female population
people have declined substantially
more than those for Indigenous
young people. As a result, the over-                    Figure 10: Australian youth in detention, average day (rate per 100,000)
representation of Indigenous young
people in detention has increased. In                    500
2015-16, Indigenous young people
were 25 times more likely to be                          400
detained in a youth detention facility
than non-Indigenous young people
(372.2 per 100,000 compared to                           300
14.6 per 100,000) (Figure 10).
Despite Indigenous young people                          200
representing less than 6 per cent
of Australia’s 10 to 17 year old
population,13 Indigenous children
and young people were estimated
to account for 55 per cent of                               0
children and young people in                                        2006–07                  2009–10                      2012–13                        2015–16
detention in 2015-16.14 This
                                                                               Indigenous young people              Non-Indigenous young people
exposure substantially increases the
likelihood of a young person being                      Source: AIHW (2017). Youth justice in Australia 2015–16. Table S85a: Young people aged
                                                        10–17 in detention on an average day by Indigenous status, states and territories, 2006–07 to
involved in crime as an adult.
                                                        2015–16 (rate). AIHW Bulletin no. 139. Cat. no. AUS 211. Canberra: AIHW.

13. AIHW (2017). Youth justice in Australia 2015-16. Table S147: Population of young people aged 10–17, by Indigenous status, states and territories, December 2006
    to December 2015. AIHW Bulletin no. 139. Cat. No. AUS 211. Canberra: AIHW.
14. AIHW (2017). Youth justice in Australia 2015-16. Table S75a: Young people in detention on an average day by sex and Indigenous status, states and territories,
    2015–16. AIHW Bulletin no. 139. Cat. No. AUS 211. Canberra: AIHW.

                                                                                                              Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 19
Figure 11: Sample of national, state and territory reports relating to Indigenous incarceration, 1991 to 2016


                  The RCIADIC found the troubling rate of Indigenous deaths in custody was due to over-representation of
                  Indigenous people in custody. The Commission highlighted the need to address the levels of disadvantage
                  experienced by Indigenous people in society. Changes to the criminal law system and to addressing the
                  disadvantage that brings Indigenous people into contact with the justice system were proposed through
                  339 recommendations that placed an emphasis on empowerment of Indigenous communities to address
                  the issues of disadvantage and incarceration from their own perspectives. Many are yet to be committed to
                  and implemented.

2008              2009

                                     The 2005 Social Justice Report called for Australian governments to commit to
                                     achieving equality for Indigenous people in health and life expectancy within 25
                                     years. COAG responded by committing to ‘closing the gap’ in life expectancy between
                                     Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. COAG agreed to be
                                     accountable for reaching this goal and developed a set of targets as part of the National
                                     Indigenous Reform Agreement. While the agreement included health, education and
                                     employment targets, there were no targets specific to justice or incarceration.

2010                                                       2011                                                 2012


                   Amnesty International Australia commissioned Clayton Utz to review the extent to which the
                   recommendations of the RCIADIC had been implemented by state, territory and Federal Governments.
                   The Review of the Implementation of Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal
                   Deaths in Custody tracked progress on all 339 recommendations of RCIADIC and found that while
                   government support for the recommendations was strong when the RCIADIC final report was first
                   released, action to address the recommendations had lagged. The report suggested that government
                   plans to implement the recommendations and to report on progress made had been “highly inconsistent.”
                   The report concluded that the bulk of the 339 recommendations remained unimplemented or only
                   partially implemented.

2015                                                                                    2016

20 | PwC
1997                                                                           2003                  2006

       Bringing Them Home was initiated to generate recognition among
       the general public of the impact of forcible removal on the needs of
       victims and their families. The report traced past laws, practices
       and policies which resulted in the separation of Indigenous children
       from their families, the subsequent effects, and examined the
       adequacy of current laws, practices and policies in relation to those
       who were affected by separation, and with respect to any future
       placement and care of Indigenous children. The report found that
       most families had been affected by the removal of children with
       between 1 in 3 and 1 in 10 Indigenous children forcibly removed
       from their families and communities between 1910 and 1970.

       The National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework outlined a national approach to addressing
       the complex interactions between Indigenous people and justice systems in Australia. The Framework
       sought to build a sustainable whole of government and community partnership approach to law and
       justice issues to eliminate Indigenous disadvantage in law and justice, and close the gap in law and
       justice outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Rather than prescribe strategies
       or actions, the Framework articulated an evidence based ‘good practice’ approach. Strategies or actions
       were intentionally flexible to enable implementation responsive to community needs and consistent
       with jurisdictional priorities and resource capacity. While comprehensive in identifying Indigenous
       justice issues, the Framework did not compel any jurisdiction to implement strategies and actions.

2013                                                                 2014

       The Change the Record coalition launched a Blueprint for Change report that highlighted the
       need to set justice targets and for governments to work with Indigenous communities, their
       organisations and representative bodies to design and invest in holistic, early intervention,
       prevention and diversion strategies. The blueprint also emphasised the need for strategies to be
       grounded in an understanding of Indigenous people’s culture and identity, and recognition of the
       history of dispossession and trauma experienced by many communities. As with the RCIADIC,
       the blueprint highlights the importance of Indigenous self-determination and prevention and
       early intervention approaches, through participation in the development and implementation of
       policies and programs if positive change is to be achieved.

                                                                         Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 21
Indigenous recidivism
                                                  Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of
Prior detention or imprisonment
increases the likelihood of future
                                                  Children in the NT
                                                  In 2016, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of
offending and contact with the
                                                  Children in the NT was established in response to the ABC’s Four Corners
justice system. Indigenous male
prisoners are 1.5 times as likely to              television program that aired shocking images of children and young
have previously been incarcerated                 people in detention in the NT.
as non-Indigenous prisoners.15 The                “The Commission has been tasked with exposing any systemic failures
disparity in reoffending is just as               and with making recommendations to improve laws, policies and
evident in women, with 67 per cent                practices that will result in a safer future for children and young people
of Indigenous women having                        in the NT. The scope of the Commission’s task is extensive, spanning both
previously served time in prison                  the child protection and youth detention systems over a 10-year period.”
compared to 36 per cent of non-                   Findings are to be reported back on 1 August 2017 with recommendations
Indigenous women.16                               made on possible legal, cultural, administrative and management reforms
                                                  to prevent inappropriate future treatment of children and young persons
Indigenous victimisation rates
                                                  in detention, and improvements to the child protection system.18
It is important to note that
Indigenous people are also more                   Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry into the
likely to come into contact with the              incarceration rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
justice system as a victim of crime.              Islander peoples
Victimisation rates are higher for
                                                  With the over-representation of Indigenous people in prison having
Indigenous people compared to
                                                  increased since the RCIADIC 26 years ago, the ALRC were asked to examine
non-Indigenous people for a number
                                                  the factors leading to this over-representation, and consider law reform to
of offences. Based on jurisdictions
                                                  ameliorate this. A report is to be provided to the Attorney-General by 22
where data is reported (New
                                                  December 2017, having considered:
South Wales (NSW), Queensland
(Qld), South Australia (SA) and                   • Laws and legal frameworks including legal institutions and law
the Northern Territory (NT)),                        enforcement that contribute to the incarceration rate and inform
Indigenous victimisation rates                       decisions to hold or keep Indigenous people in custody, specifically:
are higher for assault (except in                    nature of offences resulting in incarceration; cautioning; protective
Qld), sexual assault, homicide and                   custody; arrest; remand and bail; diversion; sentencing (including
kidnapping (except in the NT).17                     mandatory); parole, conditions and community reintegration
                                                  • Factors decision-makers take into account: community safety;
2.2 Key justice-related                              alternatives to incarceration; degree of discretion available to decision-
    reports and reviews                              makers; incarceration as a last resort; incarceration as a deterrent and
                                                     as a punishment
The over-representation of                        • Laws that may contribute to the rate of Indigenous people offending,
Indigenous people in the                             including laws that regulate the availability of alcohol, driving offences
incarcerated population has                          and unpaid fines
been the focus of numerous
(national, state and territory)                   • Indigenous women and their rate of incarceration
reviews and reports (see Figure 11                • Differences in the application of laws across states and territories
for some examples). Despite this                  • Other access to justice issues including the remoteness of communities,
volume of important work, the                        the availability of and access to legal assistance and language and
disproportionate rates of Indigenous                 sign interpreters.19
incarceration have persisted
and worsened due to a lack of
action and follow-through on the
recommendations of these reports.
The pending Royal Commission                Our work takes a holistic focus,                    While there are factors that lie
into the Protection and Detention of        examining the key drivers that lead                 within the justice system that,
Children in the NT and Australian           to Indigenous incarceration and the                 if addressed, could help close
Law Reform Commission Inquiry               over-representation of Indigenous                   the gap between Indigenous
into the incarceration rate of              Australians in prison.                              and non‑Indigenous rates of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait                                                                    incarceration, addressing the key
Islander peoples will be the latest                                                             drivers that lead to offending and
contributions to addressing the                                                                 contact with the justice system in
over-representation of Indigenous                                                               the first place has the potential for
people in prison. It is critical that the                                                       greater impact in the longer term.
recommendations of these reviews            15. ABS (2016). Prisoners in Australia, 2016. Canberra: ABS.
are acted on and implemented.               16. Bartels, L (2012). Sentencing of Indigenous women. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Brief 14.
                                            17. ABS (2016). Recorded crime – victims, Australia, 2015. Canberra: ABS.
                                                northern-territory. Accessed January 2017.
                                            19. Accessed January 2017.

22 | PwC
2.3 Key drivers of Indigenous incarceration
The key drivers that lead to, or increase the likelihood of, Indigenous incarceration can be separated into either
underlying causes (Figure 12) or additional factors related to the justice system (Figure 13).

Figure 12: Underlying causes of Indigenous incarceration

 Education                                                                                Employment
 • Lack of educational access and attainment is linked to likelihood of poor              • Half of first time offenders (2 of 3 who re-offend) are unemployed at time
   behaviour, crime, and imprisonment                                                       of arrest
 • Indigenous Australians are half as likely to finish Year 12 as non-Indigenous          • Indigenous prisoners are 1.5 times as likely to be unemployed in the 30 days
   counterparts, and perform poorer on measures of educational performance                  prior to imprisonment as non-Indigenous prisoners
 • Indigenous people who complete school are 14 times less likely to be                   • 21% of Indigenous people 15+ years were unemployed in 2014-15 vs
   imprisoned than those that do not                                                        6% nationally
                                                                                          • Employed Indigenous people are 20 times less likely to be imprisoned
 Disability                                                                                 than those who are unemployed

 • Indigenous people are 1.7 times as likely to be living with a
   disability than non-Indigenous Australians                                                  Health
 • Individuals with cognitive impairment (eg intellectual disability                           • 73% of Indigenous men and 86% of Indigenous women in prison had a
   and acquired brain injury) are at greater risk of entering the                                diagnosed mental illness vs 20% of the general population
   criminal justice system
                                                                                               • Indigenous youth in detention are more likely to have mental health
 • Indigenous Australians with cognitive impairment experience                                   problems than non-Indigenous youth (81% vs 75%)
   earlier and more frequent police contact than their non-Indigenous
   counterparts                                                                                • Access to health and community services for Indigenous people may be
                                                                                                 limited due to remoteness and cultural appropriateness
 • Key contributors to cognitive disability are Foetal Alcohol
   Syndrome Disorders (FASD)
 • FASD incidence is estimated to be at least 4 times greater among
   Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians                                                           Substance abuse
                                                                                                                    • Substance abuse affects offending: as a means to
 Housing                                                                                                              fund consumption; increasing the likelihood of
                                                                                                                      offending behaviour; and increasing the risk of
 • In 2015, 25% of Australian prison entrants                                                                         child abuse and neglect
   were homeless prior to imprisonment, with
                                                                                                                    • Indigenous people are 1.5-3.8 times as likely to be
   Indigenous prison entrants more likely to be
                                                                                                                      under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time
   homeless than non-Indigenous prison entrants
                                                                                                                      of their offence as non-Indigenous people
   (27% vs 24%)                                                                  Poverty &
                                                                               disadvantage                         • 90% of Indigenous prison entrants link their
 • Indigenous households are often larger in size
                                                                                                                      offending to substance abuse
   than non-Indigenous households
                                                                                                                    • In 2007, 68% of Indigenous offenders tested
 • Substandard and inadequate housing can lead
                                                                                                                      positive to a substance including 64% who self-
   to poor health, which is also an underlying
                                                                                                                      reported alcohol consumption 48 hours prior
   cause of incarceration
                                                                                                                      to arrest
 Intergenerational trauma
 • Ways forward reported that “not only did white
                                                                                                             Social exclusion and racism
   settlement bring…social disintegration but it                                                             • Australian Reconciliation Barometer findings show that
   brought enormous loss, trauma and grief.”                                                                   in the 6 months prior to the survey, 46% of Indigenous
 • Bringing them home reported that “high levels of                        of trauma                           Australians, experienced racial prejudice
   unemployment, poverty, ill health, homelessness,                                                          • Material poverty, or limited access to basic social needs
   and poor educational outcomes arise from the                                                                and services (e.g. education, healthcare, employment, and
   intergenerational effects of earlier assimilationist                                                        housing) can all lead to increased rates of incarceration
   policies, as well as being the direct outcome
   of dispossession and marginalisation…The                                                                  • In non-metro areas geographic proximity adds
   devastating experiences of Aboriginal parents and                                                           further complications that can create inequities
   their families brought on by the removal of their                                                           within the criminal justice process, including issues
   children, the loss of control over their own lives,                                                         related to sentencing, court attendance and bail and
   powerlessness, prejudice, and hopelessness have                                                             parole conditions.
   left many problems to be dealt with today.” The                                                           • Social exclusion post-release can impact recidivism, with
   inquiry found that many children who were forcibly                                                          remote communities having limited access to appropriate
   removed from their families and communities                                                                 community support programs and rehabilitation services
   suffered physical and sexual abuses.
 • The report concluded that “Indigenous families and
   communities have endured gross violations of their                     Child protection
   human rights. These violations continue to affect
                                                                          • Youth subject to care and protection orders and youth in out-of-home care are both 23 times
   Indigenous people’s daily lives.”
                                                                            as likely to be under supervision (detention or community-based) during the same year
 • An estimated 20% of Indigenous children have at
                                                                          • 14-16% of Indigenous young people experience supervision at some time between the ages
   least 1 parent in prison at any time.
                                                                            10-17 vs 1% non-Indigenous
                                                                          • National rates of child protection substantiations (child has been, is being or is likely to be,
 Family violence and sexual abuse                                           abused, neglected or otherwise harmed) are 7 times higher for Indigenous children than for
                                                                            non-Indigenous children (43.6 per 1,000 vs 6.4 per 1,000)
 • An estimated 87% of all women in custody have been a
                                                                          • Rates of out-of-home care are 10 times higher for Indigenous children than non-Indigenous
   victim of abuse either as a child or adult
                                                                            children (56.6 per 1,000 vs to 5.8 per 1,000)
 • Indigenous women are 34 times as likely to be admitted
                                                                          • Bringing them home report found Indigenous children are more likely than non-Indigenous
   to hospital as a result of family violence than non-
                                                                            children to be removed on the ground of ‘neglect’ rather than ‘abuse’, with “Indigenous
   Indigenous women
                                                                            parenting styles wrongly seen as the cause”. It has been suggested that risk assessment
 • Children exposed to family violence are at increased risk of             frameworks used by child protection authorities in Australia “are biased against Indigenous
   becoming perpetrators themselves                                         Australians as risk is understood in mainstream, white people terms, not in the context of
                                                                            Indigenous culture, where sharing of child minding commonly occurs.”

                                                                                                                     Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts | 23
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