Author Don Weatherburn and Jessie Holmes
Published December 2010
Report Type Affiliated publication
Subject Aboriginal / Indigenous Australians; Prisons and prisoners; Sentencing; Socioeconomic factors and crime
Keywords Indigenous imprisonment, Royal Commission, Indigenous policy, unemployment, alcohol, child maltreatment

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It is now nearly two decades since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended that a determined effort be made by all Australian Governments to reduce the level of Indigenous over‐representation in prison. The disparity between Indigenous and non‐Indigenous imprisonment rates, however, is now wider than it has ever been. This article reviews research published over the last twenty years which calls into question both the Royal Commission's analysis of the causes of Indigenous over‐representation in prison and subsequent policies adopted to reduce it. It concludes by arguing that future efforts to reduce Indigenous over‐representation in prison should be directed at dealing with the underlying causes of Indigenous involvement in crime, especially drug and alcohol use, child neglect and abuse, poor school performance and unemployment.