Aboriginal People In Australia

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As you are reading this article today, remember that although Aboriginal people make up only 3% of Australia’s total population, they represent over 28% (9,940 adult prisoners) of Australia’s prison population in 2015 and this number is rising. To combat this issue, the Murri Court was established.
The Murri Court was founded in Queensland in 2002 in response to the increasing representation of Indigenous Australian people in prison. This court sentences Indigenous offenders who plead guilty to offences which fall within the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court, for example assault or theft. His Honour, Judge Irwin quoted, “there is a way we can do better for indigenous people and reduce their level of over representation in the prison population,”
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Jarrod Bleijie, the then Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, stated that the “the Murri Court was not delivering consistent results and did not justify the amount being spent to keep it operating.”7
This court, however, is planned to be reopened in 2015-16 as the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Yvette D’Ath, stated that, “the Government had allocated $32.3 million over the next four years to reinstate court diversionary processes.”
However, while this court is still being re-established, there are alternate legal outcomes available to reduce the amount of imprisoned Indigenous Australians. For example, as “…many offenders return to their communities where they are exposed to the same levels of unemployment and drug and alcohol use,”8 if rehabilitation centres were placed in Indigenous communities and run by Indigenous Elders then there is a chance that recidivism may stop in the long term as seeing Elders run the rehabilitation centre may encourage other Indigenous people to follow in their footsteps. These rehabilitation centres could be run in collaboration with the Indigenous Sentencing
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The ISL enables Indigenous offenders to be referred to services such as drug or alcohol rehabilitation. This program is also supported by Elders and other Respected Persons and is also largely coordinated by community justice groups. The ISL, as of 2013, operated in eleven locations throughout Queensland, including Brisbane, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Cairns.8 If the ISL program expanded to more locations, therefore more Magistrates Courts, then it is likely to result in less cases of repeat offenders, particularly drug and alcohol offences. This is because the offenders would have the experience of being present at a rehabilitation centre run by Indigenous Elders and therefore be inspired not to reoffend. This is most probably the most suitable outcome as it has the power to reform repeat offenders permanently and also, does not exercise the right of the Indigenous

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