Background paper on Aboriginal people and justice services : plans, programs and delivery

Description

This is one of a series of Background Papers that the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia has commissioned for the purposes of its reference on Aboriginal customary laws. The paper reviews a range of justice services provided by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Western Australia, with a focus on programs, plans and initiatives aimed specifically at Aboriginal people. The paper discusses key policies, legislation and statistics (including trends in Aboriginal imprisonment rates) since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991; presents a descriptive overview of specific programs, plans and initiatives in terms of their stated objectives, their availability on the ground, the extent of Aboriginal participation, and any evaluations that have been conducted as to their effectiveness; and provides a thematic review of the issues raised by the various initiatives described. Services discussed include court services, prison services, and community and juvenile justice services as they impact on Aboriginal people. The paper identifies positive aspects to the services discussed, as well as suggesting some areas of concern. Despite numerous documents deploring unacceptable levels of Aboriginal incarceration, the numbers have risen rapidly to previously unthinkable levels, far in excess of the situation in other Australian jurisdictions. However bright spots for the future include the generally increased focus on services to regional and remote areas, the cross border initiatives, and initiatives to expand the operations of Juvenile Justice Teams in more remote areas. Proposals to develop community courts are to be welcomed, but introduction of specialist Aboriginal courts in metropolitan and regional centres, akin to the Koori Court initiative in Victoria, should also be considered. In essence, the challenge that DOJ faces is to translate its official policies into practice in a range of areas.

Copyright Information

¸ COPYRIGHT - State of Western Australia Copyright in documents on this website is reserved to the Crown in right of the State of Western Australia. It is reproduced here with the permission of the State of Western Australia. You may download, store in cache, display, print, communicate to the public and otherwise reproduce the whole or any part of these documents in unaltered form only (retaining this notice) for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organisation. You may not reproduce or communicate the whole or any substantial part of these documents for commercial purposes without the express written permission of the State of Western Australia, which must be sought from the Attorney General for Western Australia. Apart from the uses permitted above and any other use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved. No licence to reproduce, communicate or otherwise use these documents other than as expressly stated above is to be implied by the availability of these documents on this website.