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Question One: From Marchetti and Daly (2004), what are the aims of Indigenous sentencing courts? Question Two: How do the policing and justice alternatives relate to self-determination? Essay Example

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    Law
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  • Level:
    Undergraduate
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7Indigenous Courts and Self Policing

Indigenous Courts and Self Policing

College:

What are the aims of indigenous sentencing courts?

The aim for indigenous courts has been to make court processes more culturally appropriate, to instill more trust between indigenous communities and the judicial officers also to permit exchange of information in a more informal way with regards to defendants and their cases. This is practiced informally in remote communities. The indigenous people, family, organizations, elders and kin group members are highly encouraged to involve themselves in the sentencing process, and to give the officials’ information regarding the offence, the offender character and if the offender is willing to change (Elena & Kathleen, 2004).

The urban indigenous offenders of South Australia got involved with the members of the indigenous community in 1999. This was after consultation with community groups for several years. This has resulted to new practices; first the courts set one to three days in a month so as to sentence indigenous offenders and second the courts practiced the sentencing when judicial travelled in circuit.

Examples of the urban indigenous courts include Nunga and Aboriginal courts in South Australia, the Koori courts in Victoria, Circle sentencing in New South Wales and the Murri and Rockhampton Courts in Queensland (Elena & Kathleen, 2004).

The reason why indigenous courts came up was because; one it is believed they look into the issue of indigenous people being over-represented in the criminal justice system. Indigenous people are 15 times more likely to be imprisoned compared to non-indigenous people. Second reason is the emergence of Justice Agreements in the entire Australia. The agreements see the importance for partnerships between state governments and Aboriginal organizations in order to build a system for justice that is better for the indigenous people. The reason why the indigenous practices are starting up now is because, the legal reforms take time and there is also a new breed of judges and magistrates, who are taking a more activist stance in the criminal justice policy.

How do the policing and justice alternatives relate to self-determination?

Aboriginal self-policing in Australia is generally known as “community patrols”. Self-determination comes when individuals actively engage themselves in the different self-policing practices in the rural, urban and remote areas. The community patrols are locally initiated by the Aboriginal people so that they can look into the issues of crimes and other hazards like drugs, alcohol and violence (Harry & Giuletta, 2004).

The Cape York of Peninsula strongly advocates for the people to be responsible and control liquor licenses, setting goals and strategies, come up with options for offenders, run community-based alternatives to custody and design strategies to prevent family violence.

The advantage of this self policing initiative is that the indigenous people do not have to wait for the non-indigenous agencies to be reformed and thus they are able to give justice to their people on their own. Self-determination involves the indigenous people coming up with their own solutions that govern them and interacting with the government while not being subordinates to the policies of the government. This however does not cause friction between the communities and the government. Patrols give the people alternatives and freedom of choice as they have had hard times with the “public” police and the “private” security industry.

References

Elena, M & Kathleen D. (2004). Indigenous Courts and Justice Practices in Australia. Australia, Canberra.

Harry, B & Giulietta V. (2004). Aboriginal Community Patrols in Australia: Self-policing, Self- determination and Security. Vol. 14, London, Routledge