The federal government is being urged to set a national target to help "close the gap" on the rates of Indigenous Australians going to prison.

25 Nov 2015 - 1:26 PM  UPDATED 25 Nov 2015 - 6:26 PM

The Australian Medical Association, when releasing its 2015 Indigenous Health Report Card on Wednesday, said the imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people was rising at an alarming rate and would only get worse without immediate action.

The report found they are 13 times more likely to go to jail than non-Indigenous people, comprising 27 per cent of all sentenced prisoners.

A summary of the 2015 Australian Medical Association report card on Indigenous health 

Indigenous imprisonment by numbers  

  • Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people comprise 28 percent of all full-time adult prisoners, despite being only 3 percent of the population.
  • They are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous people.
  • That jumps to 17 times more likely for 10 to 17-year-olds
  • There was a 10pc increase in the number of prisoners from 2013 (8430) to 2014 (9264)
  • It's projected that, for the first time, more than 10,000 Indigenous people will be in custody on the night of June 30 next year - the next prison census\
  • Violence is the most common offence resulting in a prison sentence.

Australian Medical Association's recommendations

  • Set a national target for closing the gap in the imprisonment rates of indigenous Australians
  • Fund services that will divert indigenous Australians from prison
  • Support the expansion of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to help improve the health of Indigenous people and reduce imprisonment rates
  • Develop a model of healthcare that integrates ACCHOs, prison health services and others to help improve health and reduce imprisonment rates
  • Employ indigenous health workers in prison services.

(Source: 2015 AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health)