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Death in Custody report: Lloyd James Boney (Australian Aboriginal Case Study) Essay Example

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9Lloyd James Boney

Lloyd James Boney

Biography

Lloyd J. Boney was born in Walgett in New South Wales, Australia. He and his sister grew up under the care of his aunt and uncle in Goodoga, a place dominated by the white people in terms of power, businesses and resources. It is out of the alienation that he and other members of the aboriginal community experienced in this area that he dropped out of school and found more consolation in alcohol and in living alone. He occasionally worked as a laborer. Lloyd’s greatest part of adult life was spent in Brewarina a place whose majority is made up of Aboriginals (RCIADIC 1991).

Lloyd was first arrested in 1973 while still in school and charged with breaking and stealing. He was however set free on probation. His second arrest took place in 1978 when he was charged with stealing rifles and fox skins a crime that saw him get a 2 year bond on good behavior. He was later arrested the same year for using a car illegally, breaking traffic rules and driving while drunk and imprisoned for six months. During this period, Lloyd was diagnosed with epilepsy that constantly affected him as a result of his heavy drinking.

His heavy drinking also caused him to act in many other actions such as violence and made him get convicted for many other reasons that included, assaulting his ex girlfriend at one time, destroying property, causing distress and resisting arrest. Other alcohol related crimes in his adult life that led to his arrest included, theft, drunk driving, driving without a license. In many other occasions he was arrested for intoxication.

Lloyd met his wife Grace Wilson in 1983 with whom they had one son. He was however constantly charged with being violent against his wife on different occasions, accusations that led to the condition by the court that he should not contact Grace in any way, he should not leave Godooga and that he should not take any alcohol.

On August 6 1987, Lloyd went drinking at Brewarrina with his friend and during that time he attempted to contact Grace at one time to ask if she could leave with him and in two occasions to ask her for money. Though this was not the first time, the two had been in contact, Grace went to the police with the complaint that Lloyd had not left Brewarrina yet and hat he had tried to harass her actions that were in breach of the set bail conditions. Lloyd was then arrested on the basis of the accusations made by Grace the same day at around four o’clock in the evening by two officers, Constables Bordin and Fernandez. Lloyd was later found dead (hanged) in the cell few hours after his arrest. He died at the age of 28 years. His death escalated a lot of criticism with most aboriginals believing that the police had killed him just as they had done to many other aboriginals who had been previously placed in custody. A commission created to investigate this claim did not agree with the aboriginals.

A number of factors can be attributed to Lloyd’s constant conflict with the law or for his repeated crimes. One major factor is that of alcohol and intoxication while others include socio economic factors, racial discrimination, frequent arrests and bails, cultural and social control disruptions and boredom (RCIADIC 1991).

RCIADIC explanations for James Lloyd’s pathway to crime or conflict with the law

According to the report given by the commissioner to explain the possible reasons for Lloyd’ s behavior and to explain his pathway to crime, there are different possible causes of his actions. These same reasons were identified as being the main driving forces behind the increased number of offenders among the Aboriginal youths. One identified explanation is the failure in the criminal system of justice which was identified as not being neutral in deciding cases against Aboriginal youths within the juvenile system. The system was for example accused of unnecessarily charging aboriginal youths and in turn creates a serious criminal history at a very early age as well as making very harsh and undue judgments on crimes that could be corrected through more effective ways related to social control. This was the case of Lloyd whose criminal history and record runs from his early teenage years. Through the system juvenile children have continued to have a negative a attitude towards the police and the criminal system and do not in any positive way benefit from what is seen as a corrective facility. Alcohol was identified as being another evident explanation for Lloyds’ criminal acts and especially violence. According to the report, alcohol and the sniffing of petrol as well as the taking of other dugs was regarded as being a great contributor to increased involvement of the youths in crime (RCIADIC, 1991).

Another explanation for Lloyd’s criminal acts has to do with racial discrimination against the Aboriginals that trickled down even to the process of policing. The main problem here occurs in the need to adhere to the discriminatory practices present hence in most cases, Aboriginal youths, with the inclusion of Lloyd, were constantly found to engage in crime as a form of rebellion to the discriminatory policing system.

The socioeconomic status of the Aboriginal families is also another possible explanation for Lloyd’s way of life. High poverty and unemployment levels have been found to be a great contributor to crime acts by many aboriginal youths who engage in crime as a way of making a living. The illegal use of and interference with cars as a criminal act common to Lloyd has according to the commissioner’s report been attributed to living in areas where there are no cars and where access to a car therefore escalates a lot of excitement. Other possible explanations for Llyod’s constant involvement in crime include boredom whereby there is no employment or any social activities, low level of education, skills and opportunities (RCIADIC, 1991).

Major factors that explain James Lloyd’s pathway to crime or conflict with the law

The five major factors that can be seen as being the driving forces towards Lloyd’s criminal activities include alcoholism, boredom, socio economic factors, frequent arrests and bails as well as cultural and social control disruptions each of these factors has been discussed and analyzed below:

Alcoholism

Alcohol has been seen as being the greatest contributor of the many crimes that Lloyd committed. In most of the incidences marking his arrests, Lloyd was found to be highly intoxicated. Most of his criminal acts such as violence against his wife were said to be done under the influence of alcohol. Most of his offences during his adult life have been reported as being alcohol related. According to the RCIADIC report five arrests of Lloyd had been made under the 1979 Intoxicated Persons Act in 1981, nine in 1982, four in 1984, seven in 1983, three in 1986, seven in 1985 and two arrests made in 1987, the year which he died (RCIADIC, 1991).

Aboriginals have been found to have a high consumption rate of alcohol and other intoxicating drugs which have been said to be the cause of the high violence rate. According to research reports, the use of harmful substances such as alcohol is seen as a leading factor in crime rates among the youths and especially in the Western and Northern part of Australia (Brady, 1992). Though alcohol can be said to be a major contributor to Lloyd’s continuous conflicts with the law, other underlying factors can be termed as being the greatest contributors to his drinking habit. Such factors include social, economic as well as emotional factors. Lack of employment, poverty and frustrations have for example been found to be high causers of a drug and alcohol abuse (Homel, et al, 1999).

Frequent bails and arrests

The many arrests and releases made on Lloyd can be said to be a key factor in his continued conflict with the law. The first arrest made on Lloyd was when he was still in school at the age of about 15 years. At this time, he was convicted for stealing a crime for which he was let out on probation on specific conditions that he would behave well and that he would continue schooling. Another arrest for stealing was then made when he was still a teenager five years after the first one. This second arrest was followed by many other frequent arrests and releases that continued up to the time of his death. Prisons are seen as not just punitive but correctional facilities whereby once a person is arrested, the behavior changes and he comes out a much better and well behaved person. The case of Lloyd is however different as he kept getting arrested for the same mistakes. For him, imprisonment did not change him. One explanation for this could be for the reason that, Lloyd was never arrested for a long duration despite the intensity and frequency for the crime committed. With that, Lloyd may have viewed an arrest as any normal undertaking whereby he would be arrested for some time and later let out to commit the same crime again. Another possible explanation could be that he had already gotten hardened by the many arrests that had been made on him and was therefore not hesitant to commit more and more crimes. From the many arrests that had been made on him even in his childhood years, Lloyd may have developed a negative attitude towards the law and the police and as such his constant criminal acts may be a sign of rebelliousness towards the law that was especially harsh on the Aboriginal youths (Sutton, 2005).

Socioeconomic factors

Socioeconomic factors have been found to be major contributors of crime and can in this case be used to explain Lloyd’s path to crime. According to research statistics, low education level, poverty and unemployment have a 90 percent likelihood of disrupting social order. This has been said to be as a result of increased frustrations which could result into violence for example or of the need to make a living and earn an income which is mainly done through theft and robbery (Memmot et al., 2001). The life of Lloyd as an Aboriginal can be seen as that of being in the lower socioeconomic level and as such marked by poor economic conditions, low level of education and unemployment factors that may have led him into crime (Broadhurst, 2002). Being unemployed for example, his stealing could have been a way through which he was trying to make living by stealing products which he could then sell for an income.

Cultural and social control disruptions

This could best be explained in terms of Lloyd’s childhood life and growing up. According to his life history, Lloyd’s parents separated while he was still young a separation that saw his mother leave him and his sister under the care of his father. After some time, life became hard for Lloyd’s father and he could no longer take care of his children forcing him to leave them under the care of his sister Priscilla. From this it is evident that Lloyd grew up without parental love and guidance a major reason that may have led him into crime. Research reports report indicates family breakdowns and disruptions as resulting into a situation whereby children are growing up without family guidance and in turn becoming drug and alcohol addicts, criminals and respondents (Australian Human Rights Commission, 1997).

Boredom and Idleness

The life of Lloyd can be seen as one that had very little or no activity at all. This was mainly due to the fact the he and many of the Aboriginals in his area were unemployed and did not have any beneficial social activities to engage in. it is this high level of idleness that led Lloyd and his friends to drink heavily as a way of entertaining themselves an action that later got Lloyd to against the law under the influence of alcohol. When still in school, Lloyd is said to have found his school very alienating and to have spent most of his time alone and drinking alcohol as a social activity.

Reflection on analysis

From the above discussion, the life of James Lloyd was one that was influence by many underlying factors. Though he can be said to have spent most of his life in conflict with the law and in and out of prison, Lloyd’s story is much more than just that of crime. The story is one of an Aboriginal man undergoing the harsh life of the Aboriginals and living the life of the Aboriginals. It presents a story of a man living within the conditions surrounding him. The five factors discussed above as giving explanations to Lloyd’s life of crime clearly indicate that his various acts were as a result of many other happenings and situations and would have therefore been deterred if these situations had been absent. Alcohol can be seen as being a great influencer of Lloyd’s actions such that, most of his conflicts with the law occurred when he was drank. Despite the major role that it is playing in disrupting the orderly living of Lloyd, his alcoholic behavior can be seen as that which results from many other actors most of which make up those that explain his life of crime. His poor socio economic background with no employment or sustainable form of income could have for example resulted into frustrations that could have led him into drinking. His low education level meant that he could not attain any form employment hence a low or no wage. Other than his lack of a daily form of employment meant that Lloyd had a lot of idle time which he spent drinking. Drinking was also the main social activity through which Lloyd and his friends felt entertained meaning that the lack of enough social amenities in the area highly contributed to the high alcohol taking. Having grown with no real parental love and guidance, Lloyd was much more likely to involve himself in delinquent behaviors. It is through his delinquents acts that he might have also been trying to seek the attention he had never gotten from his own parents and that he got when he frequently got into the arms of the law.

From this, it is notable that the life of Lloyd is one that is dictated by the society and the present living conditions. This is to mean that correcting his behavior could not only have been done by constantly imprisoning him but by addressing the underlying factors behind his criminal acts. This would have therefore entailed changing the various parts that made up the society he lived in. addressing issues that affect social order require that the roots causes of the disruptions be first identified and solutions to these causes obtained. It is addressing these specific causes that will bring about a permanent solution to maintaining social order.

References

Australian Human Rights Commission (1997) Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families
retrieved May 4, 2011 http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/bth_report/report/index.html

Brady, M. (1992) Heavy metal: the social meaning of petrol sniffing in Australia. Canberra: AustralianGovernment Publishing Service.

Broadhurst, R. (2002) ‘Crime and Indigenous People’, in Graycar, A. and P. Grabosky,

[Eds.], Handbook of Australian Criminology. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press

Homel, R. et al. (1999) «Risk and Resilience: Crime and Violence Prevention in Aboriginal Communities» .Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 32:1-31 retrieved May 4, 2011 <http://epublications.bond.edu.au/hss_pubs/84>

>violenceindigenous.pdf/$file/violenceindigenous.pdf: Full Report. Canberra: Crime Prevention Branch, Attorney General’s Department, <Violence in Indigenous CommunitiesMemmott P, Stacy R, Chambers C & Keys, C (2001).

RCIADIC (1991) Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody,National Report, 2

Sutton, P. (2005) Rage, reason and the honorable cause: a reply to Cowlishaw. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2: 35-43