Indigenous Peoples, Criminology, and Criminal Justice
Posted: 18 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 2019
This review provides a critical overview of Indigenous peoples’ interactions with criminal justice systems. It focuses on the experiences of Indigenous peoples residing in the four major Anglo-settler-colonial jurisdictions of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. The review is built around a number of key arguments, including that centuries of colonization have left Indigenous peoples across all four jurisdictions in a position of profound social, economic, and political marginalization; that the colonial project, especially the socioeconomic marginalization resulting from it, plays a significant role in the contemporary over-representation of Indigenous peoples in settler-colonial criminal justice systems; and that a key failure of both governments and the academy has been to disregard Indigenous peoples responses to social harm and to rely too heavily on Western theorizing, policy, and practice to solve the problem of Indigenous over-representation. Finally, we argue that little will change to reduce the negative nature of Indigenous–criminal justice interactions until the settler-colonial state and the discipline of criminology show a willingness to support Indigenous peoples’ desire for self-determination and for leadership in the response to the social harms that impact their communities.
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