Source: (2001) Report No. 2/2002. Sydney: Office of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Downloaded 19 October 2005.

As noted at the outset of this report, in 2001 Australia marked the tenth anniversary of the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The several volumes and hundreds of recommendations of the report constitute an extensive, frank, and devastating examination of the impact of colonialism on the indigenous peoples of Australia. The Royal Commission’s work provided impetus for a reconciliation process and gave hope that serious progress would be made in overcoming systemic, structural discrimination against indigenous people. The reality is that less has changed than should have changed. Indigenous people continue to make up a disproportionate part of the prison population, and they continue to die in custody at high rates. This report documents the history and current key indicators of the status of indigenous people with respect to Australian society. It covers issues of welfare dependency, mutual obligation, community empowerment, and effective participation. It also delves in considerable depth into the criminal justice system, especially with respect to mandatory sentencing and juvenile diversion (e.g., family group conferencing, community based programs, victim offender conference, and other restorative processes) in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

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