Understanding and preventing Indigenous offending Introduction Indigenous over-representation is the most significant social justice and public policy issue for the Australian and New Zealand criminal justice systems. This research brief reports on the data available regarding Indigenous offending patterns, and finds that overrepresentation is particularly acute with regard to acts intended to cause injury, public order offences, offences against justice and unlawful entry. Like other offenders, Indigenous offenders are very likely to be male, substance abusers, unemployed and poor. The legacies of colonisation, dispossession and child removal policies, such as psychological distress and social disorganisation, also appear to be risk factors. The implications of these findings for crime prevention are examined. In examining offending patterns, this paper relies on official sources of data such as reported crime and people charged, convicted or imprisoned. Indigenous Australians aged 10 and over were 7.5 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to be charged by police during 2008-09 (ABS 2010a). Indigenous young people aged 10 to 17 were 14.2 times more likely than non-Indigenous to be under community based supervision and 20.7 times more likely to be in detention during 2007-08 Indigenous adults were 13.9 times more likely to be imprisoned during 2009 (ABS 2010b). Characteristics of Indigenous communities also affect recorded rates of offending. For example, some Indigenous communities traditionally socialise in public space, which increases interaction with police and the potential for negative outcomes. Offence profiles Figure 1 shows the principal offences charged. Acts intended to cause injury and public order offences accounted for
half of all Indigenous principal offences. Indigenous offenders were more likely to be charged with offences from these two categories and unlawful entry with intent offences than non-Indigenous. Indigenous offenders were less likely than non-Indigenous to be charged with illicit drug offences , theft and related offences , and fraud, deception and related offences .
One third (32.0%) of Indigenous prisoners were incarcerated for acts intended to cause injury . Consistent with police charges, higher proportions of Indigenous than non-Indigenous prisoners recorded acts intended to cause injury and unlawful entry with intent offences. Indigenous prisoners were more likely than non-Indigenous to be incarcerated for offences against justice, which includes breaches of existing orders such as bail, probation and parole, and traffic offences . Lower proportions of Indigenous than non- Indigenous prisoners had illicit drug offences, fraud, deception and related offences, homicide and related offences and sexual assault and related offences .
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 19 pages?
- Three '18
- Indigenous Australians, indigenous people, Indigenous offenders