Targeting crime prevention: Identifying communities that
generate chronic and costly
offenders. AIC reports. Public policy series 123.
Troy Allard, April Chrzanowski and Anna Stewart
Australian Institute of Criminology
Indigenous overrepresentation is the most significant social justice and public policy issue within the Australian criminal justice system. Despite the existence of justice agreements and plans in every jurisdiction over the past decade, the gap has continued to widen in every jurisdiction. Indigenous people aged 10 years and over were between 5.6 and 8.4 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to be arrested during 2009-10. Indigenous youth were 13.4 times more likely than non-Indigenous youth to be under community supervision and 23.9 times more likely to be in youth detention during 2009-10. Indigenous adults were 14.3 times more likely than non-Indigenous adults to be incarcerated during 2011.
Two national policy initiatives are driving attempts to reduce Indigenous disadvantage, including Indigenous overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. The Closing the Gap strategy recognises the need for a long-term approach to reduce Indigenous disadvantage. The strategy aims to achieve simultaneous improvements in seven areas of life - early childhood, schooling, health, economic participation, healthy homes, safe communities, and governance and leadership. The National Indigenous Law & Justice Framework aims to create safer Indigenous communities. One of the main mechanisms proposed to reduce Indigenous overrepresentation as offenders in the criminal justice system is through the use of effective and targeted crime prevention programs. Unfortunately, little publicly available information exists regarding how programs might be targeted to reduce offending by Indigenous peoples.