Criminal Law and Indigenous People in Australia

Topics: Indigenous Australians, Indigenous peoples, Criminal justice Pages: 4 (2596 words) Published: October 22, 2014

The impact of criminal law on the justice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People The criminal justice system is made up of practices and institutions of governments, which focus on upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate law with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts (Reviews 2013). Criminal law, as an institution of justice, focuses on the body of law that relates to crime (Reviews 2013). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of criminal law, and its processes in the achievement of justice for Indigenous people in Australia (note: the term Indigenous refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples). The belief that justice is achievable, is a building block for current civilisations (Rayner 2000, 5) – however, while the objective of criminal law and its processes is to achieve equality before the law, the current situation remains that those who suffer most from the absence of social justice, are the ones who are most affected by criminal justice processes (Carpenter and Ball 2012, 139). “Despite attempts to ensure that the criminal justice system operates in a fair and just manner, it remains rife with injustice” (Carpenter and Ball 2012, 139). Carpenter and Ball (2012, 139) argue that the disadvantages that arise from contact with the criminal justice system present themselves upon already disadvantaged groups – these groups are over-represented in the criminal justice system. Indigenous people are one of the most disadvantaged in Australian society (Norrish 2013, 4), and are over-represented in every stage of the criminal justice system (Uniting Care QLD 2007). Therefore it is important to examine criminal law in the context of justice and injustice for Indigenous people. It is also significant to explore the unique experiences Indigenous people face with criminal law (and its processes – police, courts) and the barriers Indigenous people encounter in the achievement of...
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