Arresting incarceration : pathways out of Indigenous by Don Weatherburn

By Don Weatherburn


Despite sweeping reforms via the Keating executive following the 1991 Royal fee into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the speed of Indigenous imprisonment has soared. What has long past improper? In Arresting incarceration, Dr Don Weatherburn charts the occasions that resulted in royal fee. He additionally argues that earlier efforts to lessen the variety of Aboriginal Australians in felony have did not safely tackle the underlying reasons of Indigenous involvement in violent crime; particularly drug and alcohol abuse, baby overlook and abuse, bad tuition functionality and unemployment.  Read more...

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Could the Royal Commission recommendations and the Keating Government response to them have been right after all? Could their contribution to reducing Indigenous imprisonment simply have been swamped; first by the effects of rising crime and later by the punitive state and territory law and order policies in reaction to that crime? This is an impossible question to answer with any degree of certainty because we have no way of knowing what the trend in Indigenous imprisonment would have been absent the events lately described.

But during the first half of the 20th century the Aborigines were dispersed from the pages of Australian history as effectively as the frontier squatters had dispersed them from the inland plains a century before. In 1967, an overwhelming majority of Australians voted to remove two clauses in the Australian constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal 17 ARRESTING INCARCERATION people. The first clause allowed the Commonwealth to make special laws for Aboriginal people. The second excluded Aboriginal people from Australian population estimates.

The general view seemed to be that Aboriginal people were ‘dying out’ and that it was only a matter of time before the ‘remnant’ completely disappeared from view. All that began to change in the 1960s. In 1968, the distinguished anthropologist WEH Stanner delivered the annual Boyer Lecture series for the then Australian Broadcasting Commission. In the second lecture, entitled ‘The Great Australian Silence’, he criticised the nation’s academic historians for their neglect of the Aborigines. According to Reynolds (1984, p.

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