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News and media releases 2015


Reconciling with Aboriginal People

29 November 2015

The Department of Corrective Services today launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan.

Commissioner of Corrective Services James McMahon said Aboriginal people are imprisoned at a significantly higher rate than other Australians with around 40% of adult prisoners and 78% of young detainees being Aboriginal.

“Our RAP will empower Aboriginal people in our care to overcome the profound nature of disadvantage in order to lead productive lives,” he said.

The Honourable Fred Chaney AO, who spoke at the launch, said he was delighted the Department had committed to playing a practical role in reducing recidivism for Aboriginal people.

“The issue of crime and incarceration is the biggest obstacle to reconciling with Aboriginal people in Western Australia. The Department has a critically important role in reducing recidivism,” said Mr Chaney.

Practical initiatives

The RAP is a practical document focused on actions the Department can take to reconcile with Aboriginal people. These include:

  • Achieving 7.25% Aboriginal employment within the Department;
  • Establishing an Aboriginal Services Committee in each prison, detention and community corrections centre to focus on delivering culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal people; and
  • Ensuring Department employees engage in cultural competency programs to increase understanding and appreciation of different cultural backgrounds.

“The RAP provides an opportunity for us to learn from recent history, heal the deep wounds of injustice and provide a deserving future for Western Australia’s first people,” said Commissioner McMahon.

“I reaffirm the importance of practical measures leading to visible results that address the profound nature of disadvantage – as seen in the over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody.

“We need to understand and recognise the past injustices; learn about Aboriginal culture and use this shared knowledge and understanding to go forward as a Department, and as one Australian people,” he said.

The RAP 2015-2018 is available here

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