Matthew 11:28 didn’t say: “Give me your poor and dispossessed, your marginalised and abused…and we will put them in prison.”  But that is precisely what we do.

Prison populations all around Australia are jumping.  We have more people in prison now than at any time in the last twenty years, and have leapt 40% in the last 5 years.  That’s shameful. But there is more.

The latest ABS stats, released today, say that if you are a black man in Australia, you are ten times more likely to be incarcerated than a white man.

Over a quarter of the prison population is indigenous.  And yet only 0.6% of our population in Victoria is indigenous people.  In my part of Victoria, Gippsland, it is now a rite of passage for young indigenous men to go through the prison system: this is where they meet their tribe.  This is where they become men.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Corrective Services, June Quarter, 2017

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