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Aboriginals are 2% of Canberra’s population but 27% of the prisoners

New data shows that 27% of Canberra’s prisoners are Indigenous, while Aboriginals make up only 2% of the Australian Capital Territory’s population.

According to a Productivity Commission report released last week, Aboriginals are 24.6 times more likely to be in jail than non-Indigenous Canberra residents, higher than the national average of 17.4%, ABC News reported.

In response the ACT government has revealed that Aboriginal people will lead a review into Indigenous incarceration rates in the ACT, conducted by the Jumbunna Institute at the University of Technology Sydney.

The ACT government has a target of making the Indigenous and non-Indigenous incarceration rates equal by 2031.

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Rachel Stephen-Smith suggested “the legacy of colonisation and dispossession” was to blame for the high Indigenous incarceration rate.

“To deliver generational change and close the gap, we must do more to address systemic racism while empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to identify and implement strength-based solutions,” she said.

ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the current rate was “unacceptable”.

“Whilst we’ve seen the rates of incarceration coming down, the number of Aboriginal people in the system is not coming as fast. So, we need to put a real emphasis on how we improve the situation for those people,” he said.

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