Incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Following public consultation on the Draft Terms of Reference, the Attorney-General delivered final Terms of Reference to the ALRC on 10 February 2017. The Terms of Reference (TOR) request that the ALRC examine the laws, legal frameworks and legal institutions, including the police, courts, legal assistance services and prisons, that may contribute to the over‑representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our prison system.
The Attorney-General also announced the appointment of His Honour Judge Matthew Myers AM as ALRC Commissioner to lead the Indigenous Incarceration Inquiry.
Since receiving the TOR, the ALRC has established an Advisory Committee, as is the usual ALRC practice. The Advisory Committee had its first meeting in March. It will meet again before the release of the Discussion Paper in the middle of the year, and prior to completion of the final report.
In March the ALRC began an initial round of intensive consultation, travelling to Brisbane, Perth, Alice Springs, Darwin and Melbourne, interspersed with consultations in Sydney. The ALRC is planning visits to Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra, as well as to selected regional locations, after the release of the Discussion Paper at the end of June.
The Discussion Paper will present our scoping of the Inquiry, and will include proposals for reform, addressing the areas outlined in the TOR. The Discussion Paper is the key opportunity for public engagement with the Inquiry and the ALRC will at that time call for submissions for the public, which will be due to the ALRC by the end of August.
Submissions to the Elder Abuse Inquiry Discussion Paper, Elder Abuse (DP 83), closed on 27 February 2017. The ALRC received more than 200 submissions from organisations and individuals in response to DP 83, and more than 450 submissions to the Issues Paper and Discussion Paper combined. This is a very significant response and confirms stakeholder interest and engagement in the Inquiry. Public submissions are published on the ALRC website.
The final meeting of the Advisory Committee was held on 7 April, and the ALRC’s final report is due to the Attorney-General at the end of May 2017.
ALRC President, Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, recently delivered the keynote address to the ADA Conference in Queensland, Supporting Older People in Exercising and Protecting Their Rights—Insights from the ALRC’s Disability and Elder Abuse Inquiries.