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African/Australian community and the criminal justice system:

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Presentation on theme: "African/Australian community and the criminal justice system:"— Presentation transcript:

1 African/Australian community and the criminal justice system:
Peter Norden, A.O. Convenor Victorian Criminal Justice Coalition

2 Correlates with criminal behaviour:
Parenting skills Educational opportunities Job skills and employment training Income security Employment Social networks/social cohesion Mental health/substance misuse

3 Recent studies of disadvantage: Tony Vinson:“Dropping off the edge”
Correlation with criminal convictions: Low Job Skills Low Qualifications Disability pensioners Year 12 incomplete Low Income

4 Correlates with imprisonment:
Low job skills Low pre-school attendance Unemployment Year 12 incomplete Low taxable income Child mistreatment Public rental housing

5 Cf. Indigenous Australians
Is their level of criminality a reflection of their indigenous identity and history? Or a reflection of the level of entrenched social disadvantage and alienation?

6 Entrenched Disadvantage:
Similar patterns of disadvantage, namely child neglect, early schooling leaving, poor job skills, low unemployment can be found in the most disadvantaged mainstream Australian communities.

7 Specific cultural/ethnic contexts:
For African/Australian communities and their young people, there are specific cultural, ethnic, historical dimensions that compound the general social context. So with earlier resettlement groups, such as Italians, Eastern Europeans, South East Asians, Middle Easterners.

8 Points of positive intervention:
Broad definition of the problem Prevention better than cure Early intervention rather than later Broad based programs essential Avoid stand alone criminal justice intervs Avoid short term projects: boomerangs Serious engagement with leaders

9 Challenges to crim. justice system:
Must collaborate with other departments Must seriously consult local community Diversion more likely to succeed Recruit diversity in culture personnel Broader training and inculturation Models of alternative dispute resolution Restorative justice models effective

10 Secret to Successful Intervention:
Must be multi-pronged response Integrated whole of govt. approach Education/Health/Welfare/Recreation Avoid criminal justice interventions Development of local leadership Key function of ethnic role models Ongoing (not reactionary) engagement

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