As Parliament resumes in Western Australia this week, human rights advocacy group Amnesty International has put out a call for its supporters to pressure the state government to abandon its plan for harsher mandatory sentencing laws.
By
Craig Quartermaine

Source:
NITV News
12 Aug 2015 - 6:00 PM  UPDATED 13 Aug 2015 - 11:28 AM

TRANSCRIPT

Craig Quartermaine: Amnesty International has long kept a watchful eye on the processes of the WA government and now, as the parliamentary Winter break concludes, a petition has started aimed at stopping a proposed new bill aimed at strengthening the state's mandatory sentencing laws.

Tammy Solonec Indigenous Rights Manager: "Those laws are already the toughest in the nation.

"If this bill gets through they'll be even tougher than we think. There will be a lot of unintended consequences, particularly for Indigenous young people, who are most effected by the three-strikes policy that already exist."

"There will be a lot of unintended consequences, particularly for Indigenous young people."

If successful, the home burglary bill will allow convicted 16 and 17 year olds to be sent to prison.

Tammy Solonec Indigenous Rights Manager: "Under the convention of the rights of the child, detention of children must be a last resort when there is mandatory detention of children."

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The WA Government has acknowledged that the prison system is already overcrowded, while deaths in custody and cases like that of Rosie Anne Fulton, who was detained for 21 months without trial or conviction, still linger over the state's Judicial system.

Tammy Solonec Indigenous Rights Manager: "We are hearing from the community that people want to take an approach that will reduce incarceration, and everyone knows this bill will do the opposite."

The online action by Amnesty has already reached 20,000 signatures.

The organisation is hoping to generate even more support before the bill reaches the upper house.