UN report presented – Poor conditions in Australia’s prisons

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Conditions in Australian prisons are poor, according to a United Nations report. For example, it is said that an extraordinary number of people are in custody and some children are being placed in solitary confinement.

According to the report, in some of the places visited, up to 70 percent of detainees are pretrial detainees. The detention of a person awaiting trial is “an exception rather than the rule,” the report said. Furthermore, Indigenous Australians are believed to be at significantly greater risk of being incarcerated than the general population. They make up about 28 percent of prisoners in prisons, but only two percent of Australia’s total population.

Children aged 10 and over are criminally liable
The UN report also criticizes the fact that children as young as ten years old are criminally liable and are also held in solitary confinement. The UN subcommittee wants to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility (as in Austria, mind you) to at least 14 years and ban routine searches of prisoners.

“Australia is in the midst of a mass incarceration crisis, where human rights abuses thrive in the darkness behind closed doors,” said Monique Hurley, chief counsel at the non-governmental organization Human Rights Law Center. The government responded that it was committed to protecting and promoting human rights. All Australians should be able to “participate fully in our democracy, our economy and our society.”

Previous investigation aborted
Committee members had already visited the country in October 2022. According to the report, they stopped investigating after some were denied access to prisons and psychiatric institutions. A “number of government agencies and officials” were met with rudeness and in some cases even hostility by the UN team.

Source: Krone

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