Criminal Justice


  1. the essay must have subtitles.e.gintroduction, main body and conclusion etc.
  2. If relevant, use the following sources and websites:
    a.Edward W Said,(1995)Orientalism in “The Post-Colonial Studies Reader”(Ed)Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin.
    b.The Ghetto Experience and Survival in Outback Ghettos-a History of Aboriginal Institutionalism and Survival(1993)Peggy Brock
    d.Chap 19.a Few Questions Answered in “Blood on the Wattle-Massacres and Maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians since 1788(1998 2nd Edition)Bruce Elder e.Neville Green.(1995)The East Kimberley Frontier, in “Forest River Massacres”
    f.Neville Green&susan Moon(1997)”Far from Home-aboriginal Prisoners Rottnest Island 1838-1931″


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Introduction. 2

The colonial legacy for Aboriginal communities. 2

Today’s state of justice for the Aboriginal people. 4

Prospects for future justice systems for the Aboriginal people. 5

Conclusion. 6

References. 7


The aboriginal people suffered many problems in the hands of the British colonialists who ventured into Australia in the 19th century. They suffered depopulation through disease, massacre, and sexual abuse. Additionally, colonialism led to secondary causes of death through alcoholism and despair (Brock1993,p. 158). The state of the justice system of the Aboriginal people today is a reflection of the British colonial legacy that many consider a brutal one.


This essay highlights this legacy in light of today’s justice system as it applies to the Aborigine people. A clear account of the historical injustices that the Aborigine people faced is given in order to shed more light on this legacy. Then reference is made to the Western Australian Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA), one of the most recent attempts at achieving justice for the Aborigine people. In this context, issues such as over-representation in the justice system are addressed. Finally the prospects for

The colonial legacy for Aboriginal communities

Many scholars claim that today’s estimates about the actual number of the aborigines who were murdered by the British are fraudulent. This could be the reason why current efforts at self-determination by the Aboriginal people do not seem to be working. Indeed, this is the notion that tends to be perpetuated by many Australian historians who try to assess whether separate development is the best option for Aboriginal communities.

Today, the aboriginal people remain an isolated community(Said 1995, p. 134). The protectionist policies of the Australian government are largely to blame for this lack of assimilation. The social crisis in many aboriginal communities invokes fear among many indigenous Australians. There is an urgent need for an overhaul of the justice system in Australia to be carried out in order for issues such substance abuse and domestic violence to be addressed in the right way. Getting historical facts right is a good starting point if this goal is to be achieved.

The starting point of a morally responsible discussion of the mistreatment of the aboriginal communities must start by getting history right. Getting history wrong implies that justice solutions will be sought in the wrong places. During the first 150 years of European settlement, the Aboriginal population reduced significantly (Elder 2003, p. 209). This is a problem that transcends all reconstructions, guesses, analyses, truths, half-truths, and misrepresentations of facts in order to reflect the underlying historical injustices.

English anthropologist Arthur Radcliffe-Brown estimated that in 1788, the Aboriginal population ranged between 300,000 to one million. This estimate has for a long time been an acceptable one. By the 1920s, the indication given by census figures is that only 58,000 ‘full-blood’ aborigines had survived in Australia. During the settlement of Australia, some people insisted that the extinction of the Aboriginal people was inevitable. However, others questioned this assertion. According to Bishop Matthew Gibney’s assertion in 1893, the word ‘extinction’ was being used as a euphemism for genocide.

In 1895, Catholic Archibishop John Bede, while giving evidence before Governor Gipps’ inquiry in 1845, said that dispossession of the natives was a threat to their survival. Sensual indulgence was carried out by the white people to a horrible extent; females who were in their early stages of life were sexually abused, rendering them incapable of becoming future mothers.

Today’s state of justice for the Aboriginal people

Today, many efforts are being made to bring the state of justice among aborigines at par with that of Western Australian communities. One such initiative is the Western Australian Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA). This agreement is aimed at addressing the unique justice concerns of the aborigines. These concerns are mainly the ones that were brought about through colonization.

AJA is aimed at improving outcomes through sustainable and safe communities. It also seeks to reduce the number of crime victims. It also seeks to reduce the over-representation of the Aboriginal people in Australia’s justice system. Most of the justice forums that have AJA representation result from the legacy that the aboriginal communities got from colonialism. For instance, the government systems that are signatories to the agreement are not much different from the way they were structured during colonialism. The justice forums that take place in Western Australia take place at the local, regional and state levels. The government signatories to the AJA include the departments of the attorney general, Child protection, Communities, Corrective Services, Indigenous affairs, and Western Australian Police. The main non-government signatory to the AJA is the WA Aboriginal Legal service.

On a sad note, today, there is no even a single functional legal system that functions in either Australia or New Zealand (Harris 2007, p. 86). There are no tribal courts that could be compared to ones that have been set aside for American Indians. The Australian Law Reform Commission has already reviewed the issue of establishing Aboriginal justice systems. However, no significant measures have been undertaken to provide a functional justice system that reflects the cultural and social aspirations of these indigenous communities(Crawford2002, p. 181).

Prospects for future justice systems for the Aboriginal people

Although there many reasons why the Aboriginal people have serious problems with the justice system as it is today, all the challenges being faced today have their roots in colonization. Acts of racism that have been directed towards the Aborigines in recent years can be attributed to the people who are responsible for the administration of justice. This is the same way that things used to be during colonialism; the only difference is that today, politicians are always candid to give lip service to the race debate.

This has led to the over-representation of this marginalized group in the court’s system. It has also led to the toughening of socio-economic conditions that the Aboriginal people face throughout the province. For this reason, it is true to say that from a historical perspective, the Aboriginal people have never received any justice from previous regimes, colonial or otherwise (Green & Moon 1997, p. 75).


Many civil society commentators from the Aboriginal communities continue to argue that simply providing more court services in various aboriginal communities is not the best solution. This is because attempting to repair a flawed system is like wasting time on an institution that has already been proven to be unworkable.

In the hands of the current legal system, the level of development has been only slightly positive. Therefore, this is the main reason why there is a need to achieve resolutions that recognize historical justices without attempting to perpetuate them. In the recent past, the justice situation for all the Aborigine communities has deteriorated. The main reason for this, it seems, is that the Aboriginal distance from the justice system at Manitoba is more than a geographical one; it is also a cultural and historical one.


In conclusion, colonial practices have led to the marginalization of the aborigine people, and one of the underlying consequences of this marginalization is a weak justice system. The prophets of doom who prophesied the extinction of a community seem to have left behind a legacy that does not seem to fade away fast enough. However, various justice initiatives, such as AJA, are being carried out both at the national and international level. For this reason, the aboriginal people are hopeful of achieving the goals of justice soon.


Brock, P, 1993, The Ghetto Experience and Survival in Outback Ghettos-a History of Aboriginal Institutionalism and Survival, Macmillan, London.
Crawford, I, 2002, We Won the Victory: Aborigines and outsiders on the North-West Coast of the Kimberley, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, North Fremantle, WA,

Elder, B, 2003, Blood on the Wattle-Massacres and Maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians since 1788 (2nd Edition), Routledge: London.
Green, N, & Moon, S, 1997, Far from home: aboriginal prisoners of Rottnest Island, 1838-1931

University of Western Australia Press, Melbourne.

Harris, J, 1999, ‘Hiding the bodies: the myth of humane colonization of Aboriginal Australia’, Aboriginal history, vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 79-104.

Said, E, 1995, ‘Resistance, opposition and representation’ in, Ashcroft, B, Griffiths, G, & Tiffin, H, (Eds) The Post Colonial Studies Reader, Palmer Press, Sydney

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