This document presents some of the key themes and factors associated with rates of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system. It provides a summary of literature that evaluates policy proposals to reduce these rates, discussing how dominant societal attitudes can negatively affect the outcomes of policy and legislation. It explores how experiences of modern disadvantage and intergenerational effects can affect incarceration rates, including the extent to which police influence these rates and alternative legal solutions.
The tendency towards punitive attitudes in policy responses is examined and focuses on how these attitudes disproportionately affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. An explanation of how disadvantage upon release can be mitigated is given, including establishing a national monitoring system to combat recidivism and providing adequate support networks. The uncertainty of diversion programs is discussed and the necessary factors that are needed to create long-term solutions to reduce extreme incarceration rates are revealed.