This article presents a select literature review on evaluations of yarning circles with Indigenous adults in the Australian criminal justice system, in both community and prison contexts. It looks at the role of the yarning circle and the importance of cultural connection and healing in providing positive outcomes.
The article also provides recommendations for future evaluations of yarning circles and other Indigenous justice programs and outlines a number of strategies to ensure that evaluations adopt culturally-appropriate research approaches.
The authors are very grateful for the guidance and wisdom provided by Wiradjuri person, Maddison Crowe, and Wiradjuri Nyemba woman, Dr Virginia Marshall, in the development of the research. For wisdom and experience in contributing to the research, including preliminary engagement about our plans, we greatly appreciate the guidance from members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the ACT. In this article, the terms ‘Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander’ and ‘Indigenous’ are used interchangeably, although we acknowledge that some people consider that the term ‘Indigenous’ does not appropriately recognise the heterogeneity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. We acknowledge and celebrate the differences amongst Australia’s many and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.