The tragic death of Aboriginal man Terrance Briscoe who died while in police custody last week shows that it is beyond time the Government finally implemented all 339 recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Greens said.
“This sad incident shows that more than 20 years after the Royal Commission first released its recommendations, there is still no real improvement concerning Aboriginal deaths in custody. Much more needs to be done,” Greens spokesperson for legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright, said.
“The Greens support the calls for an independent inquiry into Mr Briscoe’s case to ascertain how this death could have occurred while he was being monitored by police and how cases such as this can be prevented in the future.
“The 1991 Royal Commission report made comprehensive recommendations about such inquiries, stipulating that deaths in custody be approached on the basis that the death may be a homicide, and suicide should never be presumed. Investigations should also inquire into the lawfulness of the custody and the care, treatment and supervision of the deceased prior to death.
“We also question the appropriateness and rehabilitative effect of jailing people for alcohol consumption. Rather than just locking people up, we have to start addressing the underlying causes of disadvantage and high incarceration rates in Aboriginal communities.
“The Greens advocate a justice reinvestment approach, which focuses on developing targeted local initiatives aimed at reducing offending and reoffending. This will keep people out of custody which will inevitably mean less deaths in custody.
“Justice reinvestment has already seen great outcomes in some of the most conservative jurisdictions in the United States, including Texas, where the prison population has declined for the first time in decades.”
Media contact – Jennifer Maisel 0417 173 508