Diverting Indigenous offenders from the criminal justice system

Diverting Indigenous offenders from the criminal justice system Report

Resource Sheet

  • Author(s): Closing the Gap Clearinghouse (AIHW and AIFS),
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Volume: Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

Abstract: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are vastly over-represented in the Australian juvenile and criminal justice systems, with a high cost through exposure to the harsh prison environment, marginalisation, and poor health and employment outcomes. Though contact with the justice system can be reduced through diversion programs, Indigenous Australians have shown low participation and completion rates of such programs. This resource sheet reviews the evidence on the functioning and effectiveness of various diversionary programs to assess what works - and what doesn't - in helping divert people away from the justice system. A diversionary program is a form of sentencing usually run by police departments, courts and other agencies. It is aimed at better, long-term outcomes for the offenders and their community, as well as for the criminal justice system. These programs, available in all Australian jurisdictions, provide offenders an opportunity to avoid a criminal record or have a reduced sentence by meeting certain treatment and training requirements. Diversion can occur at any point—pre-arrest, pre-trial, pre-sentence, post-sentence and pre-release. A range of diversionary programs are used to address the contact with and progression through the juvenile and criminal justice systems by Indigenous Australians. This is in accordance with the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework, endorsed by the Australian governments in 2009 (SCAG WGIJ 2009), which addresses unacceptably high levels of incarceration of Indigenous Australians.

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Suggested Citation
Closing the Gap Clearinghouse (AIHW and AIFS),, 2013, Diverting Indigenous offenders from the criminal justice system, Volume:Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, Report, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3052.

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