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The Forum > Article Comments > State of imprisonment > Comments

State of imprisonment : Comments

By John Pilger, published 1/5/2013

'Rotto' is not the past. On 28 March, Richard Harding, formerly Inspector of Custodial Services, declared Western Australia a 'State of Imprisonment'.

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I feel the article is a little dramatic. When looking at the past treatment of aboriginal prisoners we need to take into consideration the treatment of white prisoners at the time, rather than judging by todays standards. The aboriginal prisoners were certainly treated extremely badly, but so too were white prisoners. Anyone who has read about the Australian prison colonies will be aware of the horrors visited upon these hapless individuals.
As far as current rates of aboriginal imprisonment go, it is indeed disgusting. However, suicide rates inside prison for aboriginals are lower than those outside prison.
The comment that children are kept in solitary confinement is wrong. After a riot at the youth detention centre which caused major damage, the children were shifted to an adult prison where they are kept segregated from the adult prisoners. Not isolated from each other. Whilst the situation is not ideal, there appears few alternatives.
Unfortunately, always looking backwards and pointing to past injustice will do nothing to fix the serious problems affecting aboriginal communities. The white man can do little to fix these problems which require the leadership of aboriginals. If the two elders Mr Pilger spoke of expended more efforts on finding solutions to the serious problems faced by aboriginals today, rather than complaining about the numerous past mistreatmentís, we may see a future where aboriginals have some hope of a better life.
Posted by Rhys Jones, Wednesday, 1 May 2013 3:56:59 PM
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Listen children and I will tell you a tale. Once upon a time, before "responsible" government in WA the chaplain to the prison on the Island was called to see the the Superintendent. He was distressed (the superintendent) about the condition of one of his new inmates who had been brutally flogged on the orders of a certain magistrate in the North West. Knowing full well the views of the chaplain he initiated a chain of events which worked to the prisoners favor. The chaplain jumped in his boat, high tailed it to Perth and informed the then Governor of the situation. The Governor decided he might visit the Island, and suggested to the super that a certain prisoner be present when he inspected the work on the new lighthouse. End result, prisoner assigned to "gardening duties" at the summer residence which meant he received medical care from the Governor's doctor and a decent feed. The Governor also found it necessary to remove a certain North west magistrate from his position. Sadly, today the process is a little more involved.
Posted by Jon R, Wednesday, 1 May 2013 7:33:45 PM
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Today, the despair is so profound that the second cause of Aboriginal death is suicide. It is booming.
John Pilger,
I believe that the guilt industry is the main culprit in that sad phenomenon. Ignorant Academics are undermining much of the good will that is out there by constantly promoting themselves as the only ones understanding everything when in fact it is their utter ignorance that is one of the major causes in not allowing the indigenous to make their own decisions. It's always some academic expert who thinks knows better. Also, leading questions will invariably guarantee the answers they want to hear & use against the rest of us. If any one group owes the indigenous people it's academia. Their perpetual bleeding heart bleating whilst happily accepting money made from the indigenous land & living on it is a hypocrisy not un-noticed by many.
Posted by individual, Wednesday, 1 May 2013 10:10:26 PM
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