Quote attributable to Andreea Lachsz, Head of Policy, Communications and Strategy, VALS:

The expansion of the carceral system in Victoria should be cause for alarm; it is certainly not something to be celebrated. Building more prisons is evidence of this Government’s failed policies, such as Victoria’s punitive bail laws, which have seen Aboriginal women remanded at staggering rates. Right now, over half of the women in prison in Victoria are on remand, not having been found guilty and not having been sentenced. Many of these women are mothers and primary carers, and with their incarceration, their children are deprived of the care and love of their mother and are at risk of being swept away by the child protection system.

Today we celebrate National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day. Shamefully, today, the Victorian Government celebrates building more prisons that tear Aboriginal families apart. Prisons that traumatise Aboriginal women, who are often victim survivors of violence and trauma. Prisons that cause immeasurable harm to Aboriginal children, families and communities.

The Government spends too much time talking about the wrong targets. It needs to focus less on building prisons and target labour hours for prison construction projects, and focus more on how to stop filling up prisons with Aboriginal people. It is time the Andrews Government took seriously its commitments under the Closing the Gap Agreement.

Click here to view the Andrews Government’s media release.