A SOUTH-WEST elder has called for an overhaul of the state’s prison system, labelling it “draconian”.
Lenny Clarke believes the high number of Aboriginals incarcerated are members of the “second stolen generation”.
“They’re stealing our people and putting them in jail,” Mr Clarke said.
“We’re losing a generation pretty quickly.
“Without a doubt, it’s a second stolen generation.”
Mr Clarke said an overhaul of the prison system should be a priority if a representative body was formed as part of a treaty proposed for Victoria.
“We have to have a treaty,” he said.
“Australia – over the years – has proven to be slack on trying to come to some sort of agreement with Aboriginal people.
“We’re the only country in a world that doesn’t have a treaty.” Mr Clarke said Aboriginal communities were riddled with issues, including drug and alcohol abuse.
He said he believed a lot of people who turned to crime had been victims of the stolen generation.
“Aboriginals in Australia have been largely ignored by non-Aboriginals,” Mr Clarke said.
His plan for an alternative to prison is a correctional farm facility that allows offenders to work, gain skills and have access to psychologists to address underlying issues.
Mr Clarke believes this system would curb the high instance of recidivist behaviour.
He said it should be an alternative punishment for all criminals, not just Aboriginals.
It was revealed on Thursday the state government is considering recommendations into how a state treaty should look.