File(s) under permanent embargo
The construction of the racially different indigenous offender
conference contributionposted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Claire Spivakovsky
The over‐representation and increased growth of Indigenous offenders in all Western criminal justice systems is longstanding and undeniable. In 2006 Victoria’s Koori offenders were 12 times more likely to be sentenced to a custodial or community sanction than non‐Koori people. Similarly, in New Zealand, Maori men account for 50 percent of the prison population but only 12.5 percent of the general population. Yet, it was not until the 1990s that the issues of Indigenous over‐representation or expanding Indigenous offender populations began to be presented as a problem within the correctional literature. This paper will explore the parameters of these ‘problems’, and present the following three arguments: (1) the issues of over‐representation was constructed within the correctional literature as a symptom of the different nature of Indigenous offending; (2) the different nature of Indigenous offending was in turn constructed as a problem of race; and (3) this construction of Indigenous offending is consistent with the contemporary constitution of mainstream offending behaviour. In concluding, this paper will discuss the implications of the emergence and sustained production of this figure of the Indigenous offender in relation to the capacity of criminologists to reconceptualise Indigenous offending.