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Breaking the Cycle Addressing Risk Factors Contributing to the Over-representation of Aboriginal Youth in the Criminal Justice System

Fitzgerald, Robert E
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Paper presented at the Reducing Criminality: Partnerships and Best Practice conference. Perth, 31 July – 1 August 2000. Canberra, Australia: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Despite genuine attempts at reform, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be arrested and imprisoned at rates which are many times greater than those of non-Indigenous Australians. Strategies which divert offenders from the formal criminal justice system, juvenile detention and imprisonment can reduce the level of involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system but are an incomplete answer. Only through programs which address those factors shown by research to be associated with an increase or decrease in the risk of the development of offending behaviour can we achieve an enduring solution.

The Aboriginal Cyclic Offending Project has been implemented at two pilot sites in Western Australia with a view to “breaking the cycleâ€? of involvement of Aboriginal young people in the criminal justice system. Key elements of the program are partnership between Government and Aboriginal people, coordination of effort across agencies, targeting of crime “riskâ€? and “protectiveâ€? factors, information-based decision making, local management, and rigorous evaluation. The first part of this paper will provide an overview of the research and policy background to the project. The second part will describe the implementation of the project at the Geraldton site and explore some of the structural and process issues which have needed to be addressed.


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