Indigenous Over-Representation in Prison: The Role of Offender Characteristics
Indigenous overrepresentation in Australian prisons demonstrates the mass incarceration of indigenous people is not America-specific.
" Fifteen years ago the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody drew attention to the fact that the rate of imprisonment of Indigenous Australians was 13 times higher than the corresponding rate for non- Indigenous Australians. Efforts to reduce Indigenous imprisonment rates over the intervening period have met with little success. Indeed, over the last few years, the rate of Indigenous imprisonment has increased. The research reported here had two main objectives. The first was to determine whether there is any evidence of racial bias in the sentencing of Indigenous offenders. The second was to determine what other factors account for the higher proportion of Indigenous offenders sentenced to terms of imprisonment. The research revealed no evidence of racial bias in sentencing. The higher rate at which Indigenous offenders are sent to prison stems mainly from (a) a higher rate of conviction for violent crime and (b) a higher rate of re-offending, particularly following the imposition of sanctions intended as alternatives to full-time imprisonment. The implications of these findings for policy are discussed."
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