Source: (2000) Australian Institute of Criminology’s Occasional Seminar.

Because Aboriginal Australians were victims of entrenched racism and discrimination in the justice system, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended redress in the form of funding to develop innovative and community-based justice programs. This paper examines the operation of one scheme in the remote Aboriginal community of Kowanyama in far north Queensland. The paper also considers the results in the development of crime prevention strategies, diversion from custody and local justice administration at Kowanyama and the potential for their application elsewhere. The paper identifies the need for governments’ willingness to recognise and respect the capacity of Aboriginal communities to develop and manage their own distinctive approaches to local justice and for concrete measures to empower the members of the justice group through strengthening their knowledge of and confidence in dealing with the mainstream justice processes.

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