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FACTBOX - Jailed too young? 10 facts about Australia's Aboriginal teenage prisoners

by Lucy Lloyd | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 26 July 2016 17:35 GMT

Data shows that indigenous young people are over-represented throughout the juvenile justice system in Australia

By Lucy Lloyd

July 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Australia ordered an inquiry on Tuesday into the treatment of children in detention after a video showing the abuse of six aboriginal boys in a juvenile detention centre sparked renewed criticism of Australia's treatment of Aborigines.

Data shows that indigenous young people are over-represented throughout the juvenile justice system in Australia, largely driven by the social and economic disadvantage experienced by many indigenous communities.

Here are 10 facts about Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and the justice system:

1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders comprise of three percent of Australia's population with a total population of 669,900 but make up 27 percent of those in prison.

2. The median age of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is 22 compared to 38 years for the rest of Australia.

3. Life expectancy for Aborigines born in 2010-2012 was estimated at 69.1 years for males compared to 79.7 for non-indigenous males, and 73.7 years for women versus 83.1.

4. Over 21 percent of the indigenous population lives in remote or very remote locations compared to 1.7 percent of the non-indigenous population.

5. In 2011, 19.3 percent of indigenous people were living below the poverty line, compared with 12.4 percent of other Australians.

6. Indigenous people constituted 13 percent of Australian homicide victims in 2011-2012 and 11 percent of homicide offenders.

7. Although only about 5 percent of young Australians are indigenous, in 2010-11 almost 39 percent of those under juvenile justice supervision on an average day were indigenous.

8. Indigenous young people aged 10-17 were 17 times as likely to be under youth justice supervision.

9. They were 28 times as likely to be detained.

10. About 58 percent of indigenous young people under supervision in 2010-11 first entered supervision when they were aged 10-14 compared with less than 32 percent of non-indigenous young people.

(Sources: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Institute of Criminology, Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey) 

(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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