How might you explain the over-representation of different groups in the criminal justice system?
Student name: Shane Lloyd
Student number: s2826576
Course name: CCJ18 Crime & Society
Course Convenor: Rosie Teague
Course tutor: Nada Ibrahim
Due Date: 25th March 2013.
Word Count: 1, 265.
According to Hogg (2001) Indigenous Australians are disproportionately over-represented in prisons and other areas of the penal system. The aim of this paper is to offer a theoretical explanation of this phenomenon as it applies to the indigenous incarceration rate of adult prisoners compared to their non-indigenous counterparts. This paper will argue that the over-representation of Indigenous people can be explained by their underprivileged position in both socioeconomic terms and by individual and institutional discrimination, a product of an underlying power struggle between the dominant Anglo-group and the indigenous community. In support, a brief snapshot of correctional statistics will be given, to reveal this over-representation. Secondly, conflict theory and in particular the negative discrimination thesis will be outlined as it applies to the topic. It will then be shown, how the long term impacts of colonial and neo-colonial practises have resulted in a self-perpetuating cycle of Indigenous criminalisation and social disadvantage, propagating Indigenous criminal over-representation. Finally, it will be established that discrimination still exists in some criminal justice processes, whereby indigenous defendants are potentially more likely to receive a prison sentence than non-Indigenous defendants of comparable standing.
Figures from administrative data sets and surveys, presented by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), clearly show that Indigenous Australians are over-represented the criminal justice system. For example, the Indigenous rate of imprisonment in 2010 was 2, 327 per 100, 000 population, a 12% increase since 2007....