Indigenous women in Australian criminal justice : over-represented but rarely acknowledged


It is now two decades since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (‘RCIADIC’) delivered its final report, which documented the substantial overrepresentation of Indigenous people in prisons and police custody, and provided detailed analysis of the underlying factors that contributed to that over-representation and to deaths in custody. That work was, of course, of enormous significance, and was intended to lay the groundwork for wholesale change, both within the criminal justice system and beyond it, to redress those factors. As we know, those aims have not been met, and in fact, as documented by numerous studies and reports, the situation of Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system and especially in prisons has been heightened. For instance, in its Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report the Productivity Commission noted that in relation to ‘social indicators such as criminal justice, outcomes (for Indigenous people) have actually deteriorated.

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