‘Growing crisis’: Record level of Aboriginal people in NSW prisons, new data reveals

The Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), are ramping up their calls for reform to the way Aboriginal people are policed, in light of new figures released by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) showing the proportion of Aboriginal people in prison is the highest on record.  

Aboriginal people made up 29.7 per cent of the adult prison population in NSW in February 2023.  

Meanwhile, 56.7 per cent of imprisoned children in NSW are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. 

Jonathon Hunyor, CEO of PIAC, called the situation a “genuine crisis”, and said the numbers reflect the detrimental impact of over-policing of Aboriginal communities, particularly on children. Hunyor also said raising the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 “will go part of the way” to addressing the crisis.  

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