Sentencing of Indigenous women


In this brief, the sentencing of Indigenous women in Australia is considered. Court, community corrections and prisons data are presented together with a discussion of the emerging literature on whether there is any evidence of bias when sentencing Indigenous offenders, especially women offenders. To the extent that this can be determined from the available Australian data, it appears that there does not appear to be harsher treatment of Indigenous women, compared with their non-Indigenous counterparts. However, they remain overrepresented among defendants before the court and in prison populations, while being underrepresented on community corrections orders. Possible reasons for this may include the eligibility criteria for such programs or availabilityissues in rural and remote areas. Other explanations may include differences in offences committed and more extensive prior records.

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