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Australian Indigenous Doctors Association backing calls for the early release of prisoners to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Dr Kris Rallah-Baker, a Yuggera and Biri-Gubba-Juru/Yuggera man, became first Indigenous ophthalmologist. Source: Fred Hollows Foundation

The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) has joined the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal Services (NATSILS) in jointly supporting the demands to release imprisoned First Nations people.

Late last month ten families who have had loved ones die in custody, along with community members with family in prison authored a historic open letter calling for an early release of non-serious Indigenous offenders at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in detention.

AIDA President, Dr Kris Rallah-Baker said that as Indigenous doctors, AIDA holds grave concerns for the conditions in prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prisons throughout Australia already have compromised health conditions, and we must protect them from this virus, as well as prevent its spread to our communities,” Dr Rallah-Baker said.

COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in prisons overseas. Many people in custody as well as corrections officers have already contracted the virus and died. The United Kingdom, Canada, Indonesia, Germany and the United States have already released people to contain the spread of the virus..

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