Australian magistrate tells aboriginal teenager to 'be like 50 Cent'

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A magistrate in Australia told a 16-year-old being sentenced for theft that he should emulate rapper 50 Cent to turn his life around.

Magistrate Deen Potter likened the teen's talent for sports to 50´s rap prowess and suggested he use his skill to forge a career free from crime.

50 Cent (Rich Fury/AP)
(Rich Fury/AP)

He said: "Like you, he came from the most tragic, traumatic circumstances... but he was able to rise above them through hard work and his talent for music," reported the West Australian.

"As a young Aboriginal man, if you end up in that system, your chances of turning your life around will only grow slimmer."

Youth incarceration rates for Aboriginal people were 24 times higher than for non-indigenous young people in 2013 and they accounted for over a quarter of the adult prison population in the same year, despite making up less than 3% of the overall population, according to Australians Together.

Prison (Niall Carson/PA)
(Niall Carson/PA)

The teen faced 49 charges of theft from a string of burglaries in the city of Geraldton, Western Australia. He pleaded guilty to 14 of the charges and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and an intensive supervision order, avoiding jail time.

Potter cited the teen's history in explaining the sentence handed down, mentioning that the teen had seen domestic violence and risen above his circumstances. He also credited the boy's mother, saying she "must be solid as a rock".

Australia's Federal Government today announced an inquiry into the disproportionate amounts of Indigenous Australians who are incarcerated in its prisons. The country's Attorney General George Brandis called the figures a "national disgrace".