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A symposium of more than 120 academics and Indigenous leaders from across the country are meeting in Cairns to discuss the sentencing and punishment of Indigenous people, with one academic saying Indigenous offenders should be rehabilitated in their own communities, rather than incarcerated in mainstream prisons.
Professor Chris Cuneen from James Cook University is heading the symposium and says Indigenous imprisonment rates have jumped by more than 50 per cent in 10 years. 'That's particularly of concern, given that the hallmark investigation into those issues was the Royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, which reported 20 years ago in 1991 and its key finding was to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal people,' he said.
The symposium will also hear from the Aboriginal and Torrres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda.