Stop Aboriginal Death in Custody - 2012 Summer Action

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:00am
Outside Old GPO, corner Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne

  • Death in custody of Terrance Briscoe, Alice Spring (5 January 2012)
  • 4th anniversary of the death of Mr Ward (27 January)
  • 5th anniversary of Queensland Police officer, Chris Hurley, being forced to front the Supreme Court charged with manslaughter and assault (5 February)
  • 8th anniversary of the death of TJ Hickey (14 February)
  • Stop Aboriginal deaths in custody - implement all 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
  • End privatisation of custodial services - cancel all contracts with G4S, SERCO and other profiteers from incarceration
  • Hold the police to account - end the practice of police investigating police. For an independent enquiry into the death of Terrance Briscoe. Establish elected community based review boards with the full legal and legislative powers to investigate, discipline and charge police, prison and custodial health officers found to be involved in a death in custody, negligence or lack of duty of care
  • End the harassment of deaths in custody families. Provide funding for families who have lost a loved one in custody to meet to allow their collective demands to be formulated, including suitable and adequate compensation. Use the $590,000 in fine money to establish a trust to honour the memory of Mr Ward. Erect a plaque at the fence line to remember TJ and publicise that his death was caused by a police chase.

Saturday, 11 February at 11:00am, Old GPO, corner Bourke and Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

Remember Terrance Briscoe, Mr Ward, Mulrunji Doomadgee, TJ Hickey and all who have died in custody

The Indigenous Social Justice Association - Melbourne has declared 2012 a year of escalated action to stop Aboriginal deaths in custody. This is urgently needed!

In a shocking start to the year, Terrance Daniel Briscoe was arrested for public drunkenness and taken into "care" on 5th January by police in Alice Springs. Shortly afterwards, the 28-year-old was dead - allegedly the result of a heart attack. However, two men who were also arrested at the same time tell a very different story describing how they witnessed four male and one female cop bashing Terrance.

The year will also mark the 25th anniversary of the formation of a Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. On 10th August 1987 Prime Minister Hawke announced the inquiry to investigate the causes of Indigenous deaths in prison, which occurred between 1st January 1980 and 31 May 1989. The Royal Commission was in direct response to growing public anger about the racist death toll. A national speaking tour of relatives who'd lost a loved one in custody, organised by the Committee to defend Black Rights, had put the issue firmly on the public agenda.

The commission made 339 recommendations. Many of them, such as the recommendation that imprisonment be the last resort, continue to gather dust. In 2011, the Indigenous imprisonment rate rose for the 11th year in a row, despite the prison population falling for the first time in a decade. Indigenous Australians are now 14.3 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-indigenous Australians. Even though Indigenous people make up just 2.5% of the general population, today, about one in four prisoners (25%) are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. In Australia, the racialisation of imprisonment is even worse than in South Africa under apartheid and in the U.S.A, which locks up more people - especially people of colour - than anywhere else in the world. While Indigenous people are locked up for minor issues, the death toll in custody continues to climb.

The Indigenous Social Justice Association - Melbourne believes inroads are made at those points in history when a mass movement wins broad community support and can mobilise to put feet on the street! This is the goal of our year of action.

Mark your diary! Get involved!
Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Summer Action
11 February 2012, 11:00am
Outside Old GPO, corner Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne

Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Autumn Action
12 May 2012, 11:00am
Outside Old GPO, corner Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne

Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Winter Action
11 August 2012, 11:00am
Outside Old GPO, corner Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne

Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Spring Action
10 November 2012, 11:00am
Outside Old GPO, corner Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne

Organised by Indigenous Social Justice Association - Melbourne

Meeting
Next meeting: Wednesday, 1 February 2012, 6:30 pm at Solidarity Salon, 580 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Support
To support our work send cheques payable to ISJA - Melb to PO Box 308, Brunswick Vic 3056 Phone/fax: 03-9388-0062 www.isja-msg.com

E-list
To be added to the ISJA Melbourne e-list contact Alison Thorne at alison.thorne@ozemail.com.au