Position Statement

AMA 2023 position statement on custodial health

The 2023 Health Care in Custodial Settings position statement updates the previous AMA position, with an emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled services, culturally safe health care and stronger supports for people who are leaving custody, returning to the community.

The AMA maintains that people in custodial settings must retain their entitlement to the Medicare Benefits Scheme and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to ensure access to appropriate health care and treatment, upholding the principle of universal access. The minimum age of criminal responsibility should be raised in all jurisdictions to 14 years of age, jail is no place for children. The disproportionately high rates of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia must be redressed through fundamental policy and legislative reform, informed by the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody – now more than 30 years old. The position statement also calls for the impacts of systematic racism in the Australian legal system to be redressed, as well as more broadly across education, health, housing, employment and land rights to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience self-determination, good health, and equal opportunity.

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