Radically reduce incarceration by putting an end to the jailing of people for unpaid fines
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We all have to get behind and champion the campaigns for an end to the jailing of the poor, and end to jailing people for unpaid fines. Gerry Georgatos has relentlessly campaigned for an end to this draconian and discriminatory law which sadly impacts disproportionately on my peoples - First Nations peoples.
Every year, hundreds of Western Australians are locked up because they could not afford to pay a fine and half of these poor people are First Nations peoples, many are of my Noongar peoples.
Ngalla Maya Aboriginal Coorporation works with the most marginalised, with former inmates, and we see every day the victims, the broken lives of the poorest of my people walk through our doors. We know that laws such as jailing people of unpaid fines is hurting and destroying our people, their families.
In recent weeks social justice campaigner has cornered the Western Australian Government to hurrying up with changes and they are listening. But we have to make sure it happens, soon. The Kimberley Aboriginal Legal Services have also begun with a petition to champion change and we encourage more of our people and organisations and everyone to create petitions, to campaign.
"From 2006 to 2015, a total of 3,301 Aboriginal people were locked up for fine default - not including those who served short sentences in local police lockups."
Only weeks ago, Gerry Georgatos highlighted in media and ultimately secured the freedom of an Aboriginal mother of five was jailed for 14 days but Gerry's campaign and collective support saw this mother released after one night in Melaleuca Women's prison.
Let us end the jailing of people for unpaid fines.
Nowhere else but in Western Australia does this happen.
We also saw last week Gerry highlight that a mother about to give birth was about to be jailed for unpaid fines but because of the media and your signatures heading to the Attorney-General Gerry and the police negotiated that she should not be locked up. Thank you.
My name is Mervyn Eades, I am the founder and CEO of Ngalla Maya, I have seen the inside of prisons since a child and it is not where good people but who are poor, mother and fathers struggling but doing their best, they should not finish up there.
Join us and fight for change. If we give up or can't do this then our poorest and most vulnerable will be left to rot.
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