chapter  3
Decolonizing Indigenous crime statistics
Pages 24

The early colonial judicial decisions that denied the recognition of Indigenous laws also portended formal equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the Anglo-Australian criminal justice system. Nonetheless ever since colonization, Indigenous peoples have experienced levels of criminalization disproportionate to non-Indigenous peoples. Researchers have found Indigenous Australians to be the most punished population in the world (Skyring 2011; Blagg 2001: 227). This chapter moves more squarely into the territory of this book – the criminal sentencing process. It explores the extent to which sentencing feeds into the processes of criminal justice which discriminate against Indigenous offenders; fi rst with reference to statistical studies and then with reference to qualitative measures. While statistics unequivocally speak to the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in prison (as outlined below), statistical fi ndings on whether sentencing decisions discriminate against Indigenous offenders are less clear. This suggests a need for a longitudinal, contextual and qualitative analysis of sentencing remarks to discern whether the sentencing process unfairly impacts on Indigenous people.