Indigenous Australian Criminal Justice System: A Case Study

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Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system has been the focus of numerous reports, discussions and research projects since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991 (Wahlquist, 2016). Revealing unacceptably high Indigenous imprisonment rates, the data is grim, indicating that even though comprising less than 3% of the population, Indigenous people represent almost 33% of the prison population, and over 50% of all young people in detention (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015).

Research into Indigenous Health has revealed that Indigenous Australians are 13 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to be incarcerated (Australian Medical Association, 2015). Imprisonment rates increased by 46% for Indigenous
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Expressed through the actions of individuals and institutions, racism is endorsed in the ideology of popular culture, and can alter in form as a response to social change ("", 2016). Although, Indigenous youths, between the ages of 10 and 17, are 17 times more likely to have been subject to a supervision order (Australian Medical Association, 2015). The number of young people held on remand, each day, rose in NSW by 32%, from an average of 181 to 239 (Vignaendra, Moffatt, Weatherburn, & Heller, 2012). Indigenous youths are more likely to be proceeded against and be arrested and enter the justice system, because detention is often the only option in under -resourced regions where police are overburdened (Code, …show more content…
Professor, Tom Calma, stressed that, as 27% of the Australian prison population are Indigenous, it is important to consider possible underlying causes and catalysts for mental health issues. Research indicates the prevalence of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (Fas-D), drug and alcohol abuse, exposure to trauma with high rates of poverty and homelessness for Indigenous Australians (Medhora, 2015). The Australian Medical Association (2015) proposes that it is possible to isolate particular health issues, like mental health conditions, alcohol and other drug use, substance abuse disorders, violence and cognitive disabilities, as significant catalysts for the imprisonment of Indigenous Australians. According to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Indigenous adults have twice the rate of victimisation for violent crime than non-Indigenous adults (Australian Institute of Criminology, 2004). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also around 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related injuries (Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, 2009). 10% of Dubbo’s population are indigenous and face issues of poverty, sex abuse, family breakdown, mental health issues, alcohol and substance abuse (Code,

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