Reconciliation & crime: Aboriginal juvenile justice issues

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Graycar, Adam
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There is a disproportionate number of Aboriginal juveniles in the juvenile justice system. There has been an overall increase in the national over-representation level between September 1993 when an Indigenous juvenile was 17 times more likely to be detained in Australia than a non-Indigenous youth and June 1996 when the likelihood of detention had risen to 21 times greater. Rapid demographic change has taken place in the Aboriginal population over the last three decades. It is important that policymakers take these demographic changes be taken into account when looking and planning ahead. Of the 285 Indigenous juveniles detained at 30 June 1996, 176 (60 per cent) were serving sentences and 114 (40 per cent) were on remand. There is evidence that since 1993 the proportion of Indigenous detainees who are remanded, rather than being sentenced, is increasing. The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RIADIC) highlighted the need for governments and Aboriginal organisations to recognise the widespread problems affecting Aboriginal juveniles. It pointed out the importance of these groups negotiating together to address and devise strategies to reduce the rate at which Aboriginal juveniles are involved in the welfare and criminal justice systems. It is believed that programs need to be designed and implemented which address 'risk factors' associated with the development of offending behaviour.
Speech notes by Adam Graycar, Director, Australian Institute of Criminology, May 1997. Made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license:
Aboriginal juveniles, Juvenile detention, Juvenile justice system, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, Incarceration, Indigenous detainees, Aboriginal Mentor Program