The Traditional Owners of this land are those who identify as
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Sovereignty was never ceded.

ANTAR pays respect to Elders past, present, and emerging through our dedicated advocacy for First Nations Peoples’ justice and rights.

ANTAR acknowledges the responsibility of committing to a truth-telling process that promotes an honest and respectful path forward for future generations to build upon.

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4 minutes

Incarceration Nation

Last edited: December 12, 2023

Incarceration Nation premiered on NITV and SBS Australia in 2021. The documentary film has since won numerous awards for its deep insightful first hand accounting of the incarceration and deaths in custody of First Nations People in Australia.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following video contains images and references to people who have died.

This groundbreaking documentary film draws attention to the reality faced by First Nations People in Australia. The film puts the justice system on trial, a system that instead of being built on fairness and protection – in reality, subjects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to systematic racism and injustice.

The great silence that accompanied the period of genocide in this country persists and infects us.

Tony McAvoy, SC

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The team at ANTAR have been working in First Nations justice for decades and we’ve seen the devastating and heartbreaking story of the incarceration crisis before, but not ever told by First Nations people themselves in such a profound and powerful way on film.

In the cool, calm and controlled outrage expressed by the film’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, all who watch Incarceration Nation will see and hear the truth of this systematic injustice but also the strength and resilience of Aboriginal people. We must get this right.

First Nations People are 13 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous Australians. Incarceration Nation exposes a justice system rooted in colonialism and a prison industry that profits from incarcerations. The ongoing oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout these systems is evident in the disproportion of incarceration rates, the continued crisis of First Nations deaths in custody, and the lack of government accountability in addressing these issues or commitment to justice reinvestment.


As Incarceration Nation highlights – these aren’t just numbers and statistics with little meaning. They are people. They are someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, and child. If there is no substantial change in the way First Nations People are policed and profiled in the eyes of the criminal justice system, the rate at which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, young and old, lose their lives in custody will continue to rise.

2021 marked 30 years since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), where 339 recommendations on prison procedures and police engagement with First Nations People were made. Thirty years on and more than 500 First Nations deaths later, these recommendations, designed to save lives, are yet to be fully implemented.

How you can make an impact

There are a number of ways you can take action and join in the push for truth-telling and advocate for change. Check out these First Nations-led campaigns and ways to get involved: 

As Incarceration Nation reminds us of the ever present systemic racism, we reflect on Stan Grant’s 2015 speech. A reminder that the dispossession of First Nations People was and continues to be a part of Australia’s fabric.

By 1901 when we became a nation, when we federated the colonies, we were nowhere. We’re not in the Constitution, save for ‘race provisions’ which allowed for laws to be made that would take our children, that would invade our privacy, that would tell us who we could marry and tell us where we could live.

The Australian Dream

Personal accountability and action are at the heart of anti-racism. We all have the power to change the narratives and conversations around us when it comes to injustice. Start a conversation and let us know what you learnt from the film.


Alternative Diversion Model in SA Read
ANTAR Impact Report Read
Youth Justice Reform in Queensland Read
Media Release
Statement on the passing of Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue Read
Justice Blak Justice in Australia Read More
Justice History of criminalisation Read More
Justice Deaths in custody Read More
Justice Campaigning for justice Read More