Assessing the evidence on Indigenous socioeconomic outcomes: A focus on the 2002 NATSISS


The over-representation of Indigenous Australians in prison continues to be a serious problem. It has been found that the over-representation stems initially from the higher rate of appearance at court by Indigenous Australians, but is amplified at the point of sentencing, with Indigenous offenders sentenced to imprisonment at almost twice the rate of non-Indigenous people. The violent nature of the offences for which Indigenous people are convicted and the greater likelihood of Indigenous people having prior convictions have also been found to contribute to their higher rate of imprisonment. This chapter discusses the range of strategies used to collect Indigenous crime data with a particular focus on omnibus surveys such as the GSS, NATSIS and the NATSISS. It then provides a selective overview of what is already known from the analysis of administrative data and the 1994 NATSIS data collections. After identifying the holes in existing data collections, the authors then examine the 2002 NATSISS data for any new insights that research might shed some light on. The data analysis is by no means comprehensive and is more illustrative of potentially productive avenues for future research. The concluding section reflects on how the omnibus surveys might be improved for future collections.

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