'A Tragedy of Monumental Proportions': Indigenous Australians and the Sentencing Process
Social and Legal Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 197-216, 2010
1 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2010
Date Written: June 26, 2010
This article explores the tensions between the principles of rehabilitation and community protection in the sentencing of Aboriginal people, especially in the context of dysfunctional and remote Aboriginal communities. In order to explore these tensions, the article draws on the issues raised in a recent Australian case involving the sentencing of nine young Aboriginal men and boys who pleaded guilty to the rape of a 10-year-old girl in a remote Aboriginal community in the far north of Australia. Although many Aboriginal women have called for greater protection for women and children by the criminal justice system, they have argued for community restoration rather than incarceration. This article suggests that, in the context of remote Aboriginal Australia, the focus on victim protection has served to entrench oppression through the continued sentencing preference of incarceration. The article concludes with a call for the decolonisation of justice and explores options by which this might be achieved.
Keywords: Indigenous people, sentencing, community protection, rehabilitation, decolonisation of justice
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation