The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in the period between October 1987 and November 1990 investigated the deaths of ninety nine Aboriginal individuals which occurred in police and prison custody in the prior nine years and five months. The report was the first of it’s kind, so broad in its study of the issues relating to the Indigenous community.
The report revealed many damning facts including: 1)Aboriginal people were the most disadvantaged group in Australia, 2) recognising the injustices committed by the white settlers upon the Aboriginals, and its consequences to the current Aboriginal condition, and 3) Aboriginal are the highest represented group within our prisons and have the highest death in custody rate.
In tandem with these findings, the Commission published a total of 339 recommendations which would, if implemented assist in pulling Aboriginal statistics out of the red. However, more than a decade later, it is important to look at whether there has been change, whether there have been implementations, and if these have made substantial changes in figures and standards.
The Royal Commission attributed the most prominent cause of the over-representation in custody to the sub-standard economic, social and political climate of most of the indigenous population . Statistical analysis reveals that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the poorest, unhealthiest, least employed and worst housed people in Australia.
On average, the level of the unemployment is three times higher than the national average and incomes are less than two-thirds that of other Australians. It is not that Indigenous people are too lazy or do not want employment, as common myths would suggest, but it is due to the direct correlation with the historical legacy imposed upon the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The commission announced this issue of Aboriginal disadvantage to be the pivotal factor...