Sentencing Indigenous offenders

RB/CIP Number: 7
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Thalia Anthony

When sentencing Indigenous offenders, courts in Australia and New Zealand do their work in the knowledge that the rates of Indigenous imprisonment are much higher than the rates for the community as a whole. This brief seeks to provide an evidence base for the development of law and policy by highlighting some key issues concerning the sentencing of Indigenous offenders. It first outlines the statutory frameworks that are in place in Australia and New Zealand. Second, it discusses the development of common law principles relating to the sentencing of Indigenous offenders, focusing on the relevance of Indigenous status and Indigenous laws (often called customary law) and cultural practices. Finally, it reports on the results of statistical studies of sentencing of Indigenous offenders.