Indigenous Australians are underrepresented in diversions by courts to drug and alcohol treatment facilities.
Indigenous people only make up 2.5% of Australia’s population but figures now show 26% of adult males in prison are Indigenous, 31% of adult females in prison are Indigenous and 49% of young people in juvenile detention are Indigenous.
A recent study by Deloitte Access Economics found that $111,000 can be saved per year per offender by diverting non-violent Indigenous offenders with substance use problems into treatment instead of prison. A further $92,000 per offender in the long term could be saved due to lower mortality and better health related quality of life outcomes.
Each year there are over 30 000 new prison receptions and over 150,000 movements among prisoners in New South Wales.
Despite anecdotal evidence that injecting drug use occurs in prisons, not one Australian prison has a needle and syringe program operating
Australia’s prison population has increased 30% in the last decade
Recidivism rates exceed 50 per cent.
Indigenous women are the fastest growing group within Australian prisons.