Administrative Law

Arresting incarceration : pathways out of Indigenous by Don Weatherburn

By Don Weatherburn


Despite sweeping reforms by way of the Keating executive following the 1991 Royal fee into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the speed of Indigenous imprisonment has soared. What has long past unsuitable? In Arresting incarceration, Dr Don Weatherburn charts the occasions that ended in royal fee. He additionally argues that prior efforts to lessen the variety of Aboriginal Australians in legal have didn't appropriately handle the underlying factors of Indigenous involvement in violent crime; particularly drug and alcohol abuse, baby overlook and abuse, bad tuition functionality and unemployment.  Read more...

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113). Settlers around the Hawkesbury River in Sydney and further west at Bathurst responded to Aboriginal theft and aggression with reprisal killings of Aboriginal people (Karskens 2010). When efforts to pacify local Aboriginal people failed, the attacks on them received official sanction. On 10 April 1816, following repeated attacks on local settlers by Aboriginal people resisting the confiscation of their lands, Governor Macquarie sent three detachments of soldiers to track down, capture or kill all Aborigines without distinction between ‘friendly’ and ‘hostile’ people (Karskens 2010, p.

The Keating Government response The Keating Government accepted all but one of the Commission’s 339 recommendations and allocated $400 million ($672 million in today’s terms) to put them into effect. The Commonwealth’s contribution to the effort to reduce Aboriginal disadvantage and contact with the criminal justice system was matched by a determined effort on the part of the state and territory governments. The criminal justice reforms recommended by the Royal Commission included mandatory notification of the Aboriginal Legal Service when an Indigenous person was arrested or detained; greater use of police cautions and other alternatives to arrest, particularly for juveniles; decriminalisation of public drunkenness; initiation of legal proceedings for breach of non-custodial options by summons (rather than arrest); legislation to enshrine the principle that imprisonment should be used as a sanction of last resort; and increased funding for community-based alternatives to imprisonment.

It is difficult to pinpoint the events that led to this attention. Langton (2012, pers. ) believes that Noel Pearson’s book Our right to take responsibility (2000) kick-started the public debate about Indigenous violence. This is undoubtedly true but Sutton’s (2001) justly famous critique of Indigenous policy in Australia since the 1970s played a pivotal role as well. Sutton was absolutely searing in his indictment of romantic liberal assumptions about the conditions of life in remote Indigenous communities arguing that, far from being places where Aboriginal people peacefully engaged in traditional cultural pursuits, they were in fact places suffering from an ‘epidemic of interpersonal violence, especially sexual violence toward women and children, including the elderly and infants’ (Sutton 2001, p.

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