Turning a spotlight on the surging number of incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Victoria

Mrs Una Stone1
1Rmit University, Social and Global Studies Centre, Doncaster East, Australia

Worldwide the number of incarcerated women is soaring. Research in this area informs us of the specific issues around the incarceration of women, the majority of whom are single parents, and the impact which their incarceration has on their ability to reconnect with their children on release. In particular, here in Victoria, Australia, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women incarcerated has grown by 248 per cent since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody’s final report in 1991. The impact of their incarceration has a long term intergenerational effect on them, their families and their communities. Such effects include losing their children, their homes, their jobs and disconnection from family and friends. This in turn facilitates the cultural disconnection of their children. With the lack of government commitment to both the Redfern Statement (2016) and the Uluru statement (2017) it appears that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s voices continue to fall on deaf ears. This paper will examine the key drivers and underlying issues behind the rising number of incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Victoria and will explore what interventions have taken place to address this contentious issue.


Una Stone has lectured at RMIT since 2005. She graduated Masters (by Research) in 2013 with her thesis titled ‘Mothering inside and outside prison’. She is now writing her PhD on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s incarceration in regional Victoria. Her other research interests include violence against women, incarcerated women and the colonisation of Australia.


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