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Indigenous jail rate goal dismays lawyers

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Australia's top lawyers argue the adult prison rate included in Closing the Gap targets is not ambitious enough.

New targets developed by governments and Indigenous groups have been released, including reducing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Stair Islander adults behind bars by at least 15 per cent.

Law Council president Pauline Wright says the target needs to be more ambitious.

"This target of 15 per cent by 2031, does not envisage achieving parity until 2093," Ms Wright said on Friday.

"That is several generations away and is especially disappointing, as it comes following the inaction displayed by the attorneys-generals from across Australia in deferring a decision on raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility."

The targets also cover children's health and detention, education, out-of-home care and employment.

But the Law Council says the goal is merely aspirational if no extra funding is attached.

Ms Wright says a lack of appropriate bail accommodation can lead many people to be unnecessarily jailed.

"Similarly, out-of-home care and disengagement from the education system are significant pathways into the criminal juvenile justice system," she said.

The Closing the Gap targets aim to improve Indigenous wellbeing and have not been met in many years.

© AAP 2020

Image: Peripitus / CC BY-SA