A 'New Era in Corrections' for the Northern Territory?


20 years after the release of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) report, which noted the need to reduce Aboriginal incarceration, Indigenous imprisonment continues to rise alongside recidivism rates. The Northern Territory has very high imprisonment rates, compared to the national average as well as internationally. In response to this the NT government has announced a $68 million ‘New Era’ initiative, which aims to reduce the prison population by 20% and lower recidivism rates to the national benchmark. This paper examines the New Era proposals and asks whether they are able to address the NT’s epidemic Aboriginal incarceration rates. It focuses on the initiative’s ability to cope with the racialised nature of criminal justice and incarceration in NT and asks if RCIADIC lessons have been properly considered. The New Era proposal is outlined and the way indigenous people are included and categorised within it is discussed. Areas for improvement in the New Era are also given. The construction of a new prison as a part of the New Era plan is also critically analysed before focusing on finer details of the plan. The article closes with North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency’s recommendations.

Copyright Information

This document has been sourced from the Indigenous Law Bulletin, previously known as the Aboriginal Law Bulletin, database published on Austlii (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/IndigLawB/). AustLII advises that it is not the copyright owner of the source documents published on AustLII and is not able to give permission for reproduction of those source documents (refer copyright policy disclaimer dated October 2010). Queries about copyright should be referred to the publisher - the Indigenous Law Centre and the University of New South Wales.