Saturday, December 7, 2019

Punishment and Penal Policy In Australia †

Question: Discuss about the Punishment and Penal Policy. Answer: Introduction In Australia, the indigenous community is facing serious issues based on discrimination and prejudice from the society. The incarceration rates of Aboriginal people are significantly high in Australia. Most of the indigenous jails face problems in prisons such as murder, sexual harassment, discrimination, and mental health issues. The number of young aboriginal juvenile prisoners is also considerably high as compared to non-indigenous people. The total population of indigenous people in Australia makes about 3 percent of the national population, but in case of prisoners population, they make about 27 percent, as of 2016. The rates of indigenous inmates are increasing every year which constitutes a significant problem for the aboriginal community. This report will focus on analysing the present difficulties of aboriginal incarcerations in Australia. Further, the report will evaluate the reason for the problems of indigenous incarceration and provide recommendations to avoid such issue s. Indigenous Community The indigenous people of Australia are aboriginal and islanders which existed in Australia before British colonisation. As of 2016, there are around 649,171 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people in Australia, which makes about 2.8 present of the total national population. The indigenous community faces various social problems in Australia such as low average life expectancy rate, physical violence with women, huge unemployment rates, disability, and discrimination on multiple levels. Indigenous Incarceration Problems The national imprisonment rate is a critical problem for aboriginal peoples; the rate of native prisoners is considerably higher than non-indigenous peoples. The rate of women and young native prisoners is also higher than non-indigenous peoples. Other than high prisoners rates, the aboriginal people face discrimination and prejudice in the jails as well. Following are few issues meet by indigenous people regarding incarceration. High Imprisonment Rates The national rate of indigenous people is considerably high; they have already crossed the prison rate of black people in the United States of America. As per the research conducted by Chua and Foley (2014, p.138) over indigenous incarceration, the incarcerations rates are a significant problem for the aboriginal community. The study of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare provided that the level of indigenous over-representation between youths have augmented 26 to 31 times in between 2009 and 2013 (Weatherburn 2014, p.1). Following is the rate of incarceration in Australian prisons as of 2016: The indigenous community contributes to about 2.8 percent in the Australian population yet around 27.3 percent of prisoners in Australian jails are aboriginals. The rate of women indigenous prisoners is around 34.3 percent. Around 48 percent of juveniles prisoners are aboriginal peoples The rate of imprisonment for indigenous women has raised more than 58.6 percent in between 2000 and 2010. The rate of incarceration for non-indigenous women has increased by 22.4 percent. The rate of incarceration for aboriginal men has increased by 35.2 percent in between 2000 and 2010. The non-aboriginal men incarceration rate has risen by 3.6 percent. There are around 14.8 factors through which increases the incarceration rate of Aboriginal people throughout Australia. The indigenous people are more likely to be incarcerated by the police than compared to non-indigenous peoples. Every year the incarceration rate of aboriginal people increased, since 2004, the number of indigenous prisoners has risen by 88 percent. The percentage of non-indigenous prisoners has increased by 28 percent. Death in Prison As per Hunter (2007, pp.88-93), one in every five aboriginal person has lost a parent due to death in incarceration; the rate of death for native people in prisons is higher than non-indigenous peoples. The high number of aboriginal prisoners has doubled their risk of death in prisons. The Australian government appointed a Royal Commission to analyse the deaths of indigenous people in prisons and factors which contribute to such deaths such as social, cultural and legal problems. During their four-year course, the commission invested more than 99 indigenous deaths that occurred during the incarceration. Since the royal commission appointment, there have been more than 365 deaths of aboriginal peoples either in prison or police custody. In past 15 years, the indigenous people are more likely to be died in prison than compared to non-indigenous peoples. The prison death rates for aboriginal peoples have doubled from 14 percent at the time of royal commission. Paperless Arrest In the northern territory of Australia, the high court has provided the provision of paperless arrests. The section 123 of the Police Administration Act provides that a member of police has right to arrest any person without any warrant or document and take them into custody if they have a reason to believe that such person is committing or has committed any offense. As per Cunneen (2001), the paperless regulation has been misused by many members of the police to arrest the aboriginal people. In northern territory, more than 85 percent of prisoners are indigenous, and the rate of death is also considerably higher for them. The Human Right Law Centre provided a press release on the matter which provided that police arrested more than 2000 people under these regulations, and more than 80 percent of such people were aboriginal. Youth Imprisonment Around 50 percent of the juvenile prison population in Australia is comprised aboriginal youths. The rate of indigenous juvenile incarceration has increased rapidly, with an average 34 young native people in 10,000 are in prison, as compared to non-indigenous it is 1.3 per 10,000. The Torres Strait Islander youth are 26 times more imprisoned as compared to non-indigenous youth. In case of a northern territory, 97 percent of juvenile prisoners are aboriginal, and islanders, the average age for indigenous youth to be imprisoned is 15 to 16 (Jacups and Rogerson 2015, pp.117-124). Reason for Indigenous Incarceration Following are few key drivers who contribute to the increasing rate of incarceration for aboriginal peoples in Australia. Education The lack of educational facilities and attainment for aboriginal people are directly linked to various issues such as poor behaviour, offenses, and incarceration. As per Pedersen et al. (2004, pp.233-249), in Australia, the indigenous people are half as likely to complete their 12th year as non-aboriginal people, the performance of aboriginal people are also below as compared to non-indigenous people. The native people who have completed their studies are 14 percent less likely to be incarcerated by the police. Employment More than half of the first time indigenous offenders are unemployed at the time of arrest; the aboriginal prisoners are 1.5 times more likely to be unemployed 30 days before their arrest. According to Sutton (2009), more than 21 percent of indigenous adults were unemployed in 2015 as compared to 6 percent of non-indigenous people unemployment. The employed aboriginal people are 20 times less likely to be incarcerated by the police. Disability As per Krieg (2006, p.534), Aboriginal people are 1.7 times more likely to have a disability than compared to non-indigenous people; the disability includes mental health issues such as brain injury and depression. Disable aboriginal people face more police contact than non-indigenous counterparts. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder is one of the primary reasons for indigenous incarceration. Substance Abuse The study of PwC (2017) provided that at the time of aboriginal people arrest, they are 1.5 -3.8 times more likely to be used drug or alcohol. More than 90 percent of indigenous prisoners have linked their crimes to substance abuse. More than 68 percent of aboriginal prisoners have tested positive for the use of drugs and alcohol. Social Exclusion and Racism As per Zubrick et al. (2010,pp.75-90), more than 46 percent of aboriginal people experience some racial prejudice which leads to adverse mental health issues. The material poverty and lack of necessary social requirements are directly linked to the native people incarceration. In case of non-metro parts of Australia, the rate of racial discrimination increases substantially; the racism adversely influences factors such as payroll, court attendance, and sentence. Housing More than 25 percent of Australian prisoners were homeless in 2015; aboriginal prisoners are more likely to be homeless than non-indigenous prisoners. The houses of non-indigenous people larger and has more facilities than compared to aboriginals homes. Inadequate housing facilities adversely affect the health of native people which is a cause of incarceration. Recommendations Following are few suggestions which can improve the incarceration situation of aboriginal peoples: Strict Government regulations regarding the protection of indigenous rights. The government should dismiss laws such as paperless arrest or make rules to avoid misusing of such acts against native peoples (Young and Solonec 2011, p.15). Providing better facilities such as educational, housing, employment, and protection against racism can improve the social status of aboriginal peoples which reduces the rate of incarceration (Poate 2017). Proper guidance should be provided in school to stop young indigenous people from commenting any crime or substance abuse. Improving the status and lifestyle of youth can assist in the reduction of native incarceration and promote their development. Conclusion In conclusion, the rate of indigenous incarcerations is significantly high in Australia which causes several problems, such as a death in prison, the high juvenile rate of arrest and low development. There are several reasons which contribute to the high rate of aboriginal incarcerate such as illiteracy, racism, less housing facilities, unemployment, and disability. To reduce the rate of indigenous incarceration and improve the status of native peoples, it is necessary that government implement strict regulations for their rights and provide them better facilities for development. References Chua, S.X.Y. and Foley, T. 2014. Implementing restorative justice to address indigenous youth recidivism and over-incarceration in the act: Navigating law reform dynamics.AILR,18, p.138. Cunneen, C. 2001. Conflict, politics and crime: Aboriginal communities and the police. Hunter, E. 2007. Disadvantage and discontent: A review of issues relevant to the mental health of rural and remote Indigenous Australians.Australian Journal of Rural Health,15(2), pp.88-93. Jacups, S. and Rogerson, B. 2015. Lifetime influences for cannabis cessation in male incarcerated Indigenous Australians.Journal of psychoactive drugs,47(2), pp.117-124. Krieg, A.S. 2006. Aboriginal incarceration: health and social impacts.Medical Journal of Australia,184(10), p.534. Pedersen, A., Beven, J., Walker, I. and Griffiths, B. 2004. Attitudes toward indigenous Australians: The role of empathy and guilt.Journal of community applied social psychology,14(4), pp.233-249. Poate, S. 2017. Solution to reduce indigenous prisoners in jails. Northern Star. Accessed October 15, 2017. PwC. 2017. Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the facts. [PDF file]. PwC Indigenous Consulting. Accessed October 15, 2017. Sutton, P. 2009.The politics of suffering: Indigenous Australia and the end of the liberal consensus. Melbourne Univ. Publishing. Weatherburn, D. 2014. The problem of indigenous over-representation in prison.Arresting incarceration: Pathways out of Indigenous imprisonment, p.1. Young, W.R. and Solonec, T. 2011. Epidemic incarceration and justice reinvestment it's time for change.Indigenous Law Bulletin,7(26), p.15. Zubrick, S.R., Dudgeon, P., Gee, G., Glaskin, B., Kelly, K., Paradies, Y., Scrine, C. and Walker, R. 2010. Social determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing.Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice, pp.75-90.

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