The Role of Indigenous Justice Agreements in Improving Legal and Social Outcomes for Indigenous People
Sydney Law Review, Vol. 32, pp. 645-669, 2010
25 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2013
Date Written: 2010
Driven for the most part by recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, Australian states and territories over the last two decades have introduced Indigenous Justice Agreements and related strategic frameworks in the hope of addressing consistently high rates of Indigenous incarceration and improving justice service delivery to Indigenous people. Through analysis of relevant policy frameworks and associated policy material, rather than statistical analysis alone, we seek to examine whether strategic planning in this area is actually improving Indigenous justice outcomes as intended. We apply seven criteria as a basis for our assessment of policy outcomes.
Despite significant shortcomings, we conclude that quality, Indigenous justicerelated strategic planning does have a positive impact, at the very least through the focus it provides for government to work towards addressing Indigenous justice issues, including Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system and victimisation. Further development of effective policy is essential. In this context, the dismantling over time of Aboriginal advisory and/or representative bodies and its impact upon policy development is noted as a point of particular concern.
Keywords: Indigenous Justice Agreements, Australia, indigenous incarceration
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