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date: 25 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Indigenous people are vastly overrepresented in the criminal justice systems of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Colonization devastated the lives of each country’s First Nations Peoples in ways that left them disproportionately disadvantaged in health, wealth, education, and employment. Socioeconomic disadvantage influences the likelihood of indigenous people coming into contact with the criminal justice system. Other factors such as institutional and systemic bias also play a part. Innovative court practices in each jurisdiction try to redress racial inequality in the criminal justice system and reduce the alarming rate at which indigenous peoples are overrepresented in custody. Quantitative reoffending analyses fail to show that these innovative justice processes have greater success in changing an offender’s behavior than do conventional court processes, but there is evidence that they are exposing indigenous offenders to more meaningful and culturally appropriate court practices.

Keywords: Indigenous justice, the impact of colonization on the criminalization of Indigenous peoples, Indigenous sentencing courts, Gladue Court, Cree Courts, Marae Youth Courts

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