Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited

Stranding of People after Contact with the Justice System

ALSWA Submission to the WA Department of the Attorney General – May 2008

In the criminal justice system, people are often stranded after being transported to court and receiving a non-custodial sentence or bail or upon their release from prison. In this submission, ALSWA raised concerns about the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are left stranded, without repatriation. Given the vast distances and poor health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ALSWA sought for the Western Australian Department of the Attorney General (DotAG) to establish a repatriation policy as a matter of urgency. This issue was of particular importance given the introduction of the Cross Border Act in March 2010 which enabled persons to be arrested interstate and possibly left stranded even further from their home.

Key ALSWA recommendations included: that transportation of accused persons away from their community be minimised through amendments to the Bail Act and the use of audio visual equipment; that a repatriation policy be developed and implemented for people released from police custody and prisons, taking into account the current Northern Territory Repatriation policy; that where a person is denied bail or unable to meet the conditions of bail that have been set by police or a Justice of the Peace, the police be required to contact ALSWA and the person be allowed to make a bail application to a magistrate by telephone or video-link; and that the Government resource secure hostels for recently released prisoners and their families to assist reintegration into the community.

Repatriation – May 08 – WA.pdf (1.15Mb)

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ALSWA provides legal advice and representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in WA in Criminal, Family, Civil and Human Rights Law with additional services in community legal education, advocacy and the protection and promotion of human rights .

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