Source: (1998) Australian Indigenous Law Reporter 3(2). [1998] AILR 18.

This paper examines the establishment and operation of pioneering Aboriginal community justice initiatives in Palm Island and Kowanyama in Queensland and their prospects for realising sustained reductions in youth detention and recidivism. To date, there have been encouraging results suggesting that community control and self-management can be of great benefit in crime prevention, conflict resolution and offender mananagement in remore Aboriginal communities. This may be critical to breaking the cycle of recidivism and culture of crime identified as major issues for Indigenous young people by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner (1996) and other criminology researchers (Cuneen and White 1995 and Beresford and Omaji, 1996). I argue that community justice initiatives will falter if they do not receive adequate support from government and suggest that building partnerships between communities and government agencies is a likely critical factor in the longer term viability of these projects. Specific challenges in forging such partnerships include ensuring that government agencies recognise innovative community approaches to justice and provide constructive support through the provision of adequate training and resources. These measures can strengthen community capacity to deal with mainstream justice processes and institutions and empower communities to respond and deal with the community demands and needs that arise. [Also presented at Crime in Rural Communities: the Impact, the Causes, the Prevention; Duval College, University of New England, Armidale, 1 March 1999;]

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