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Native Americans And The Criminal Justice System

Ross, Jeffrey Ian
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Paradigm Publisher, Boulder, London

The book is divided into four sections: the introduction, theoretical issues in the area of Native Americans and criminal justice, current policy issues affecting Native Americans and criminal justice, and a conclusion. The introduction in chapter 1 explains that the many tensions between Native Americans and the criminal justice system are rooted in the fundamental differences between the Native American traditional of justice, which is based on cooperation and consensus building, and the European criminal justice tradition, which is based on punishment and retribution. Section 2 is comprised of four chapters that explore old and emerging theoretical perspectives on the relationship between Native Americans and the criminal justice system. For example, chapter 2 explains that the goal of Navajo justice is to restore the offender’s harmony with the community as well as their inner harmony, which is generally accomplished through restitution monitored by the community. Chapter 4 examines the rise of restorative justice and the corresponding resurgence of indigenous traditions of justice, claiming that both emerged following the collapse of the state. Section 3 contains 10 chapters that critically examine how current public policy impacts the Native American relationship with the criminal justice system. The author of chapter 6 contends that alcohol has been used as a tool of colonialization to demoralize and disenfranchise indigenous peoples. Chapter 10 presents a critical analysis of American prisons and shows how Native Americans are attempting to bring their traditional healing practices to native prisoners. The authors of chapter 13 argue that the rise in crime among Native American youth is a myth that is not supported by empirical examination. The last section contains the concluding chapter, which summarizes the diverse research and theoretical orientations presented throughout the book, focusing on the remaining dilemmas plaguing the relationship between Native Americans and criminal justice. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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