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There are lawyers and court available for victims of crime in Melbourne but this right is not given to the Indigenous people of Australia. This is why the parliament of New South Wales is going to conduct a debate in order to determine the need to setup a Walama court which will handle sentencing of Indigenous individuals who have committed crimes.
The proposal is backed by the police and the lawyers in the state because they believe that it will help lessen Indigenous incarceration which is spiraling out of control at the moment. The government of Berejiklian, on the other hand, is opposed to the approach.
Pat Gooley, the secretary of the police association, said that the police force has been supporting the proposal for quite a while now. They are tired of the fact that some are just using the proposal to obtain political mileage. They believe that the solution is needed in order to lessen then number of people who have fallen victim to crimes and also to decrease the number of young men who are subjected to incarceration.
The opposition of the state is in favour of the Walama court proposal. Basically, it will operate under an existing district court and it will handle sentencing matters once the offenders agreed to a guilty plea. Just like the drug court in NSW, the sentencing will also include community-based punishments which will be monitored closely by the judge. There will also be sentences covered by an intensive period which will be under the Corrective Services.
According to NSW Bar Assocation, the court will need $15 million to operate within five years and majority of the funds will be used by the Corrective Services in order to monitor the community-based sentences of the offenders. The district will also be given $60,000 to hire their court officer.
Arthur Moses SC, the president of the bar association, said that the court will not be established as a soft-on-crime alternative. Police association and lawyers handling victims of crime in Melbourne are in agreement with the proposal in order to manage the sentencing of the Indigenous people in a way that acknowledges their human rights.