East Victoria Park law student part of group submission accepted into inquiry into Indigenous incarceration rates

East Victoria Park resident Jazelle Francis was among the students to make a submission about Indigenous incarceration rates.
East Victoria Park resident Jazelle Francis was among the students to make a submission about Indigenous incarceration rates.

AN East Victoria Park resident was among five Murdoch University law students who had their submissions accepted into an Australian Government inquiry into Indigenous incarceration rates.

Students from the third year Social and Welfare Law unit researched the issue, and suggested legal measures that could reduce the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) in prisons.

Jazelle Francis joined fellow students Demi Thackrah, Dayna Lazarides, Anna Lee, Caitlin Joensson in making submssions.

“I was pretty intrigued to learn that any member of the public can make submissions to law reform,” she said.

“I was pretty proud of myself as I think I had underestimated my research and writing ability.”

According to national statistics published in 2016, ATSI prisoners make up 27 per cent of the national prison population, but make up only 3 per cent of the overall population.

The successful submissions were accepted by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), which is considering changes to laws to help address the problem, described by former Attorney General George Brandis as a ‘national tragedy’.

Their final report will be tabled in Parliament and released publicly later in 2018.

Law lecturer Anna Notley, who teaches the Murdoch unit, said she encouraged all her students to make submissions.

“Murdoch’s law school is dedicated to producing graduates with social consciences who want to make a difference, so making submissions to this enquiry was a valuable exercise for the students,” she said.

“The professional skill required to write such a submission is highly valued by employers.

“It is also quite an achievement to have submissions accepted alongside those of judges, social justice lawyers and top policy makers, as our students were for this inquiry.”

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