Author Don Weatherburn
Published July 2009
Report Type Affiliated publication
Subject Aboriginal / Indigenous Australians; Alcohol; Costs of crime; Drugs and Drug Courts; Prisons and prisoners; Sentencing
Keywords alcohol, illicit drugs, imprisonment, Indigenous, NATSISS, Royal Commission

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Australian Indigenous imprisonment rates are higher now than they were at the time of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The Commission attributed Indigenous imprisonment to Indigenous cultural, economic and social disadvantage. Noel Pearson has argued that Indigenous drug and alcohol use is a more important cause of Indigenous contact with the justice system than Indigenous disadvantage. In this paper I argue that the available evidence provides strong support for Pearson's view and for the proposition that future efforts to reduce Indigenous imprisonment should place more emphasis on supply-side strategies for reducing Indigenous drug and alcohol abuse.