skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 50976 Find in a Library
Title: ABORIGINES AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (FROM CRIME AND JUSTICE IN AUSTRALIA, 1977, BY DAVID BILES - SEE NCJ-50969)
Author(s): J NEWTON
Corporate Author: Australian Institute of Criminology
Australia

Sun Books Pty Ltd
Australia
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sun Books Pty Ltd
South Melbourne, 3205, Australia
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: THE AUSTRALIAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM'S PROBLEMS IN DEALING WITH THE ABORIGINAL POPULATION ARE DISCUSSED, WITH REFERENCE TO CONFLICTS BETWEEN WHITE AND ABORIGINAL CUSTOMS AND LAW.
Abstract: THE BASIC ASSUMPTION UNDERLYING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ABORIGINES AND THE AUSTRALIAN LEGAL SYSTEM HAS BEEN THAT ABORIGINES ARE BOUND TO THE SAME EXTENT AS THE GENERAL COMMUNITY BY AUSTRALIAN LAW. THIS ASSUMPTION HAS TENDED TO OVERLOOK THE FACT THAT, IN PRACTICE, TWO DISTINCT LEGAL SYSTEMS HAVE OPERATED WITH RESPECT TO ABORIGINES SINCE THE WHITE SETTLEMENT OF AUSTRALIA. HOWEVER, WHILE THE AUSTRALIAN LEGAL STRUCTURE OFTEN IS ENTIRELY INAPPROPRIATE IN CASES INVOLVING ABORIGINES, TRADITIONAL ABORIGINAL LAW MAY BE LARGELY IRRELEVANT FOR ABORIGINES WHO HAVE CHANGED THEIR TRADITIONAL WAY OF LIFE. TRADITIONAL ABORIGINAL LAW HAS ALTERED LITTLE TO MEET NEW PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED CONTACT BETWEEN ABORIGINES AND WHITES. SIMILARLY, THERE HAS BEEN A MARKED ABSENCE OF SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE ACTION ON THE PART OF WHITES FOR THE URBANIZED BLACK POPULATION AND FOR ABORIGINES WHO ARE LESS CONSTRAINED BY TRADITIONAL TRIBAL VALUES. ONLY RELATIVELY RECENTLY HAS SOME ATTENTION BEEN PAID TO IMPOSING PENALTIES IN LIGHT OF CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING AN OFFENSE COMMITTED FOR TRIBAL REASONS. AN EXAMINATION OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE WHITE SYSTEM OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE HAS OPERATED WITH RESPECT TO BLACKS SUGGESTS POSSIBILITIES FOR OVERCOMING SOME OF THE PROBLEMS STEMMING FROM THE CONFLICTING CULTURES. PROBLEMS OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN WHITES AND ABORIGINES ARE DISCUSSED, AS IS THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION ON CRIME RATES AMONG ABORIGINES. SOME STUDIES ATTRIBUTE THE HIGH RATE OF CONVICTIONS OF ABORIGINES FOR LIQUOR OFFENSES TO THE FACT THAT ABORIGINES OBTAINED THE RIGHT TO DRINK ONLY RECENTLY. OTHERS SAY THE CONVICTION RATES DEPEND ON OTHER FACTORS, INCLUDING POLICE HARASSMENT. THE COURTS HAVE VARIED IN THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY TAKE THE ALCOHOL PROBLEM INTO CONSIDERATION IN DECIDING CASES INVOLVING ABORIGINES. PROBLEMS IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POLICE AND ABORIGINES ARE DISCUSSED, WITH REFERENCE TO THE FACT THAT FEW ABORIGINES ARE EMPLOYED AS POLICE. EVIDENCE OF PREJUDICIAL POLICE ATTITUDES TOWARD ABORIGINES IS CITED. POINTS AT WHICH TRIBAL LAW AND CUSTOM CONFLICT WITH THE AUSTRALIAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ARE NOTED. STATISTICS ON THE OUTCOME OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST ABORIGINES ARE EXAMINED. STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT ABORIGINAL DEFENDANTS ARE CONVICTED AND SUBJECTED TO IMPRISONMENT MORE OFTEN THAN ARE WHITE DEFENDANTS. A DISCUSSION OF LEGAL SERVICES FOR ABORIGINES NOTES THAT THE MAJOR PROBLEM IN PROVIDING SUCH SERVICES IS THAT THE BLACK POPULATION HAS LITTLE OR NO CONFIDENCE IN THE ENTIRE AUSTRALIAN LEGAL SYSTEM AND TENDS TO REGARD MAGISTRATES, PROSECUTORS, AND EVEN DEFENSE LAWYERS AS MERELY ARMS OF THE POLICE. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Aborigines; Alcohol-Related Offenses; Australia; Legal aid services; Minorities; Socioculture
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50976

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.