In the neoliberal world of individual responsibility, certain very disadvantaged Indigenous Australians, people with mental and cognitive impairment and particular women have become suitable social enemies to be dealt through the criminal justice system. The authors consider how particular social groups have become subject to more intensive forms of control through the prison. It is their argument that understandings of both sentencing and punishment have been enlarged through concepts of race, gender and culture. Some of these understandings might be seen as positive affirmations of race and culture, others may be seen largely in a negative light where being defined through particular racial and cultural characteristics brings with it certain disadvantages. In the realm of penality not all understandings of race and aboriginality are negative. The growth in various Indigenous sentencing courts in Australia and Canada over the last decades is the outcome of Indigenous activism and official accommodation.