Source: (2008) Journal of Experimental Criminology. 4(4):357-380.

Research suggests that rather than focusing on criminal justice responses, more progress in reducing Aboriginal overrepresentation might be made if the focus was shifted to the underlying causes of Aboriginal crime: substance abuse, family violence, poor school performance, and unemployment. Further development of initiatives to address the underlying causes of offending by indigenous young people, as well as use of effective criminal justice responses, such as youth justice conferencing, likely will be more effective in reducing the overrepresentation of young indigenous people in the juvenile justice system. The results of the simulations indicate that youth justice conferencing is unlikely to contribute significantly to the targets set by the Justice Agreement. While conferencing has the potential to reduce the number of young people reoffending overall, this impact may be more apparent for non-indigenous young offenders, resulting in an increase in the disparity in the ratio of indigenous to non-indigenous young offenders. While youth justice conferencing is only one of a range of criminal justice interventions identified in the Justice Agreement as strategies for reaching the identified goals, it is the only diversionary option that has been empirically shown to reduce rates of reoffending. However, there is a deep need for more rigorous evaluations of the impact of youth justice conferencing on reoffending; simulation modeling is only as good as the estimates that are used as parameters in the models. (Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov).