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Jail not rite of passage: Shorten

AAP logoAAP 31/07/2016

Jail shouldn't be considered a right of passage for Australia's young indigenous men, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.

Speaking at the Garma Festival in northeast Arnhem Land on Sunday, he said the fact that 97 per cent of youths in detention in the NT are Aboriginal was an indictment on the nation.

"I cannot believe it is beyond the wit and wisdom of our nation that the only response to (child offenders) is to slap them into jail ... that is laziness," Mr Shorten said.

"Jail should not be considered a rite of passage for young Aboriginal men because this country lacks the alternatives."

He was commenting after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week announced a royal commission into the NT juvenile justice system.

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