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- Author or Editor: Juan Tauri x
One of the distinctive features of settler-colonial jurisdictions – namely New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States – is the significant over-representation of Indigenous peoples in all facets of the criminal justice system. Research consistently shows that Indigenous peoples are over-represented in arrest, conviction and imprisonment statistics, as well as rates of victimization, especially for crimes involving sexual and intimate partner violence. The lived experiences of Indigenous peoples have long been associated with rurality, meaning that community structures are located in geographical spaces we understand today to be ‘rural’. Appending Indigenous lived experience with rurality has become associated with socio-economic deprivation that manifests in a range of poor social outcomes, including low educational attainment, poor health outcomes, drug and alcohol dependency, high rates of child abuse and/or negative engagement with childcare and protection services, intimate partner and other forms of violence (see both Guggisburg, 2019 and McCausland and Vivian, 2010). It is no surprise, then, that connections between the concept of rurality and Indigenous peoples’ experiences of offending and victimization has long been established in criminology. Furthermore, it is becoming a key focus of research and analysis of the Indigenous lived experience within the developing sub-discipline of rural criminology (see Jones et al, 2016). However, focusing investigation and analysis of Indigenous peoples’ experiences of crime and victimization within the geographical and conceptual space of ‘rurality’ is problematized by the fact that the demographic reality of Indigenous lived experience is not the same for all Indigenes. For example, in the Canadian context, only 26 per cent live ‘on reserve’, meaning that 74 per cent of Canadians who self-identify as Indigenous live ‘off reserve’.
Indigenous Criminology is the first book to comprehensively explore Indigenous people’s contact with criminal justice systems in a contemporary and historical context. Drawing on comparative Indigenous material from North America, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, it addresses both the theoretical underpinnings to the development of a specific Indigenous criminology, and canvasses the broader policy and practice implications for criminal justice.
Written by leading criminologists specialising in Indigenous justice issues, the book argues for the importance of Indigenous knowledges and methodologies to criminology, and suggests that colonialism needs to be a fundamental concept to criminology in order to understand contemporary problems such as deaths in custody, high imprisonment rates, police brutality and the high levels of violence in some Indigenous communities.
Prioritising the voices of Indigenous peoples, the work will make a significant contribution to the development of a decolonising criminology and will be of wide interest.
Chapter one sets out the social, economic and political positions of Indigenous peoples within the settler colonial states of Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States, and the various measures of marginalisation. It discusses the over-representation of Indigenous people as victims and offenders in the settler colonial states. The chapter discusses the absence of the concept of colonialism in mainstream criminology. It contextualises the position of Indigenous people within debates around sovereignty and self-determination, and introduces the importance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Chapter Two provides an in-depth analysis of the ways in which knowledge – its production and dissemination – provides the basis for the suppression of Indigenous peoples in settler colonial contexts. It discusses Indigenous critiques of the ways in which criminologists marginalise Indigenous knowledge, and seek to maintain hegemony over the construction and dissemination of knowledge about Indigenous experiences of settler colonial crime control policies and interventions. Utilising case studies from Aotearoa New Zealand and Canada, the chapter demonstrates the added value that Indigenous approaches to social harm can have in alleviating the negative impact of settler colonial criminal justice.
Chapter Three sets out the impact of colonialism on Indigenous peoples relevant to understanding their contemporary contact with the criminal justice system. It discusses the history of settler colonialism including genocide, violence and the role of ideas around ‘race’ and the ‘civilising mission’. The chapter explores the role of colonial criminal law in enforcing removal from lands, containment and assimilation. It outlines different modes of punishment which were introduced for Indigenous peoples. The chapter uses two examples to discuss the long-term criminogenic effects of colonialism: the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families, and the control over Indigenous trust funds, wages and labour. The chapter concludes with a discussion of resistance and the Indigenous civil rights movement.
Chapter four discusses the policing of Indigenous peoples. It outlines the importance of various royal commissions and inquiries in Australia and Canada. The chapter considers in particular the role of police discretion and its adverse use against Indigenous people with a focus on stop and searches, move-on powers, juvenile diversion, bail and pre-trial detention. It outlines the role of racial profiling and use of force, and details the issue of Indigenous deaths in custody, particularly in Australia and Canada. The chapter has a specific discussion on policing and responses to violence against Indigenous women. The chapter concludes with a discussion on Indigenous modes of policing including community police, US tribal police and local policing initiatives such as night patrols.
The focus of this chapter is Indigenous women’s experiences of settler colonial crime control, and the response of settler colonial criminal justice systems to the needs of Indigenous women. The chapter discusses in detail significant issues relating to Indigenous women’s engagement with settler colonial crime control, including ongoing increases in police contact and imprisonment. Employing critical Indigenous analysis of the Northern Territory Emergency Response implemented by the Australian Federal Government in 2007, this chapter demonstrates the intersectional foundations behind the significant rise in Indigenous women’s engagement with the criminal justice system, and the role played by the settler colonial state in their continued criminalisation.
Chapter six discusses the sentencing and punishment of Indigenous peoples in settler colonial states. It begins by contrasting the different approaches to sentencing Indigenous people in Australia and Canada through a consideration of relevant legislation and case law. It concludes that while there are significant differences, both systems are predicated on the centrality of the non-Indigenous legal system. The chapter outlines the lack of sentencing alternatives for Indigenous people particularly in remote and rural areas, and its effect on imprisonment. The chapter considers in more detail the role of Indigenous sentencing courts in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and Canada, and the specific development of tribal courts in the United States. The chapter concludes with a discussion of justice reinvestment and its potential applicability in Indigenous nations.
Chapter seven focuses on a recent, but significant development in criminological research, namely the increasing globalisation of crime control legislation, policies and interventions. Utilising a detailed analysis of restorative justice, and specifically the Family Group Conference forum, this chapter reveals Indigenous experiences of the globalisation of crime control. In particular, through a discussion of the impact of the transfer of Family Group Conferencing from Australasia to North American, and in particular Canada, the chapter reveals that far from empowering Indigenous peoples in the realm of criminal justice, it has at times impeded their strive for a greater degree of self-determination.
Chapter eight provides a summary of the key issues and arguments contained in the previous chapters. In particular, the chapter seeks to demonstrate the added value that can be had from the development of an explicitly Indigenous Criminology, including a critical focus on the process of colonisation as an explanatory framework for understanding the current status of Indigenous peoples in settler colonial criminal justice; that any attempts to understand the ‘Indigenous problem’ must take into account Indigenous perspectives, explanations and responses to social harm; and the development of Indigenous Criminology is an important component of the continued strive by Indigenous peoples for self-determination in all facets of their lives, including criminal justice.