Criminology, Criminal Justice and Indigenous People: A Dysfunctional Relationship?

The John Barry Memorial Lecture, Public Lecture, Laby Theatre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 2008

Posted: 5 Feb 2009

See all articles by Chris Cunneen

Chris Cunneen

Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research,University of Technology Sydney; University of New South Wales, School of Social Sciences; James Cook University - Cairns Campus

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 26, 2008

Abstract

The Apology to the Stolen Generations by Prime Minister Rudd and the Australian Parliament heralded a new beginning in relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However at the same time the broader Australian community is frequently confronted with stories of violence against women and child abuse among Aboriginal people. Crime and dysfunction are seen as pressing problems requiring strong government action. Often the discipline of criminology reinforces the view that the problems reside in the Indigenous population, and, typically, dysfunction is not associated with the justice system itself.

The lecture will look at issues of crime and violence in Indigenous communities in the context of the broader failures of criminal justice law, policy and practice. In particular the lecture will address three points: the problem the legal system has in ensuring protection of Indigenous women in the context of domestic and family violence; the problem criminal justice agencies have in developing strategic policies that change the way they do business with Indigenous people; and, the problem that Indigenous people have in using the legal system to protect and enhance their own interests and rights, particularly in the area of civil law. The question posed is whether the institutional barriers to fairness and justice are of such magnitude that they can be usefully seen as institutional discrimination.

Keywords: Apology, Stolen Generations, Criminology, Indigenous

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Cunneen, Chris, Criminology, Criminal Justice and Indigenous People: A Dysfunctional Relationship? (November 26, 2008). The John Barry Memorial Lecture, Public Lecture, Laby Theatre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1337263

Chris Cunneen (Contact Author)

Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research,University of Technology Sydney ( email )

15 Broadway, Ultimo
PO Box 123
Sydney, NSW 2007
Australia

University of New South Wales, School of Social Sciences ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

James Cook University - Cairns Campus ( email )

PO Box 6811
Cairns, Queensland 4870
Australia

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