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Broome Diocese welcomes prison investigation

The Justice, Ecology & Peace Office of Broome Diocese has welcomed the announcement by Western Australia's Minister for Justice of an investigation into the provision of custodial services and facilities in the Kimberley Region.

Office Coordinator Br Shane Wood said the investigation is long overdue.

"It is pleasing to note that this is going to involve not only professional people in the justice system, like Professor Harding, but also local people who have a vested interest in the provision of more adequate and culturally appropriate facilities and processes for those who get caught up in the justice system," Br Wood said.

"We know of course that by far the largest group represented in the justice system are indigenous people," he said. "This in itself is a cause for concern and needs to be a part of some further investigation. It is one thing to be instigating this Task Force under the banner of law and order and keeping the community safe."

Br Wood pointed out that announcing an investigation is "a politically expedient thing to be raising" just prior to WA's State election.

"It is another to be proactive in the broader community to try to prevent so many of these people ever coming into the justice system in the first place."

"Much of the overcrowding in the Broome Prison is caused not just by inadequate facilities, but by the incarceration of people who should never be there in the first place - minor offenders and fine defaulters. These matters need to be addressed as well.

"This Office endorses the work of the Task Force, but hopes that more will also be done to address the concerns raised by the Deaths in Custody Enquiry and by the over representation of Aboriginal people in the justice system," Br Wood concluded.

Prison investigation welcomed (Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace, Diocese of Broome 29/11/04)
Water inquiry should go ahead (Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace, Diocese of Broome 29/11/04)

Catholic Diocese of Broome
Department of Justice WA
Call for remote jail to improve inmate conditions (ABC Kimberley 19/11/03)

30 Nov 2004