Aboriginal circle sentencing in New South Wales (NSW) is a form of restorative justice and was introduced largely to deal with the over representation and incarceration of indigenous people in the criminal justice system. Government programs thus far do not seem to have made a significant impact in addressing this problem. Circle sentencing was first introduced in NSW in Nowra in 2002 and was primarily based on the Canadian model of restorative justice. Research conducted on the effectiveness of circle sentencing in NSW is difficult to decipher due to the different research methods used and the way effectiveness is tested, however circle sentencing has been shown to have some success in the indigenous community. The implications of these findings
Other punitive measures, that have developed out of the just deserts mentality, such as three-strikes laws, which required life sentences for those with three convictions, as well as Scared Straight programs and boot camps, have negligible or detrimental effects to recidivism (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). Studies have repeatedly shown that long prison sentences and lack of rehabilitation actually increases the likelihood of reoffending (Canadian Civil Liberties Association [CCLA], 2011). While using punitive measures in the name of retribution may make those in society feel safe, there is no evidence to support this approach.
The over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system is a large problem in society and reasons as to why this may be occurring need to be examined (Walker & McDonald, 1995; AIC, 2013). Indigenous Australians make up less than three per cent of the overall Australian population, however Indigenous people are over-represented in Australian prison populations, with imprisonment rates that are around 12 times those of the rest of the Australian population (AIC, 2013). Rates of over-representation are even higher in juvenile detention, with a 10-17 year old Indigenous person being around 24 times more likely to be in detention than a non-Indigenous person of the same age (AIC, 2013; Cunneen & White, 2011). Indigenous Australians overrepresentation in the criminal justice system is usually due to offences pertaining to violence and public disorder (ABS, 2010; Hogg & Carrignton, 2006). This is endorsed by the fact that Indigenous Australians currently make up 40 per cent of those imprisoned for assault offences (AIC, 2013). The over representation of Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system may be attributed to a variety of reasons, known as risk factors (AIC, 2013).
Circles were found by the Native American cultures of the United States and Canada. These circles are used for many purposes. In the 1980s, the criminal justice system adapted and developed as the people of a first nation. Local justice officials had attempted to start building closer ties with the community and formal justice system. Going into 1991, Judge Barry introduced the “sentencing circle.” The sentencing circle means that the justice process will be shared with the community. The best-known sentencing circles were called the “Hollow Water First Nations Community Holistic Healing Circle.” The members of the community would gather around to deal with a high level of alcoholism. These circles represented a safe zone. Many had begun to
These agreements, as negotiated with each state, vary but address the police framework in relation to these criminal justice problems. For example, the Queensland agreement involves reducing the rate in which indigenous come into contact with the criminal justice system to level with the non-indigenous rate (Cunneen 2007). By achieving this they have set out specific goals, which address early intervention and diversionary strategies with the risk factors involving indigenous youth coming into contact with the justice system. Also addressing the policies, procedures and practices within the justice system that are suitable for indigenous communities and increasing participation of these communities by development of their own resolutions (Cunneen
REFERENCESAustralian Law Reform Commission (1980), Sentencing of Federal Offenders, Discussion Paper No. 15Law Reform Commission NSW (2001), Discussion Paper 33(1996)-Sentencing, (Chapter 7. Parole), Lawlink New South Wales, Online. Available. http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lrc.nsf/pages/DP33CHP7 3.4.2006No Author (2006), Sensible Sentencing NZ Justice: Why Parole?, Safe NZ, Online. Available. http://www.safe-nz.org.nz/paole.htm 3.4.2006Travis, L.F. (1995). Introduction to criminal justice (pp307
Mandatory sentencing is not anything new. It began in the 1970s. The main purpose for mandatory sentencing was to try to get rid of the drug lords and to eliminate most of the nation’s street drug selling. It was to impose that the same crime would have the same sentence all over the nation. Some of the negatives that rose from mandatory sentencing were nonviolent drug offenders and first time offenders who were receiving harsh sentences. Inmate populations and correction costs increased and pushed states to build more prisons. Judges were overloaded with these cases, and lengthy prison terms were mandated to these young offenders. Mandatory sentencing is an interesting topic in which I would like to discuss my opinions in going against
There is alarming number of Indigenous Australia’s currently serving time in prisons and from 2001 the numbers has been increasing. According to Krieg (2006) Indigenous incarceration may be the direct consequences of inadequate housing, mental health, substance use, family violence and disability.
While the restorative justice movement has risen in recent years, the idea of circle sentencing, or peacemaking circles has been practiced in indigenous cultures for quite some time. As we look at implementing traditional indigenous culture practices as alternative dispute resolutions, we need to realize the effectiveness and also whether we are ready to use them. The Yukon and other communities reintroduced circles in 1991 as a practice of the restorative justice movement (Bazemore, 1997, p.27). Around that same time, Minnesota made the breakthrough in borrowing the practices with each band of Native Americans having their own political communications. Because Minnesota has seven
What has society done about reforming sentencing laws in order to reduce the incarceration population? The fair sentencing Act which was signed by president Obama has helped reduce the number of inmates impacted by mandatory minimum sentencing by “reducing the disparity in the amounts of powder cocaine and crack cocaine required for the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences and eliminates the mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine, it also increases penalties for major drug traffickers” (White House 2010). What the Act did was changed the ratio of Crack cocaine v Cocaine from 100:1 to 18:1 (U. S. Department of Justice 2010). This Act is beneficial because it
Sentencing disparities as a result of an individual’s race or ethnic background, has been one of the most frequently investigated topics in criminological research. (Mitchell, Mackenzie 2004). Several studies have attempted to understand the impact of the offenders’ race on criminal sentencing but there has been variation in the results- some of studies concluded race does effect sentencing regardless of the legal variables; some studies revealed it does not; while other studies concluded that race does impact sentencing when coupled with other factors. (Pratt 1998).
Provision [SCRGSP], 2005; Jeffries and Bond, 2012). It is also widely discussed that there is an overrepresentation of Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system itself (Jeffries and Bond, 2009), representing up to one quarter of prisoners in Australia (Makkai and Payne, 2003; Payne, 2005). This essay will address the current issues that Indigenous Australians face within the criminal justice system, particularly, with courts. The aim of this essay besides addressing these issues will also be to provide suggestions or alternatives that may help resolve the presented issues and improve the experience for Indigenous Australians in court.
The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) in 1991 provided documentation on the death of indigenous Australians in prison or police custody. In doing so the report highlighted the substantial over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Criminal Justice system and provided detailed analysis of underlying factors. The reports findings were believed to be the foundation of change. However, regardless of a range of policy changes and crime prevention programs in repose to the report, over representation in the criminal justice system remains. The issue is one of the most significant social justice and public policy issue in the contemporary Australian criminal justice system. The RCIADIC made 339 recommendations, most of which have been implemented into the criminal justice system over the past two decades. Never the less the systematic over representation remains prevalent. The purpose of this essay is to understand over representation as it exists in the contemporary criminal justice system. Particular emphasise will be placed on the levels of women and youths in the criminal justice system, their contact with the system and empirically based risk factors pertaining to over representation. An evaluation of alternative programs in the pre and post sentencing stage and the impact such programs would have on the over representation will be conducted.
Similar to the Sentencing Reform Act, the purpose of the United States Sentencing Commission is to prevent inequity of sentencing among federal judges. It’s role is to serve as a strict guideline for Judges to adhere and limits the discretion at which a Judge may alter the length of sentence. The goal of this commission is to hamper factors such as race, sex, socioeconomic status, etc to affect the length of sentence, and aims for the guideline to stand on a neutral ground.
As a country, we should care about all of our citizens and work toward bettering them, because we are only as strong as our weakest link. When it concerns the issue of corrections it should not be a discussion of punishment or rehabilitation. Instead, it should be a balance of both that puts the spotlight on rehabilitating offenders that are capable and willing to change their lives for the better. Through rehabilitation a number of issues in the corrections field can be solved from mental health to overcrowding. More importantly, it allows offenders the chance to do and be better once released from prison. This paper analyzes what both rehabilitation and punishment are as well as how they play a part in corrections. It also discusses the current reasons that punishment as the dominant model of corrections is not as effective as rehabilitation. After explaining rehabilitation and punishment, then breaking down the issues with punishment, I will recommend a plan for balance. A plan that will lower incarceration rates and give offenders a second chance.