Social And Emotional Elements Of Australia Essay

Social And Emotional Elements Of Australia Essay

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In Australia, the number of prisoners with an Indigenous background has been steadily rising over the past decade (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015). With Indigenous people making up only 2% of the total adult population of Australia, it is alarming to note that Indigenous adults make up over a quarter of the Australian prisoner population (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015). The numbers for youths are even more alarming; 6% of the youth population in Australia is made up of Indigenous youths, however, Indigenous youth makes up 48% of the youth population in prisons (Ting, 2015). There is some evidence that this over-representation is due to entrenched racism within the police force. This essay will endeavour to illustrate examples where this may be the case, but also aims to highlight other prominent factors such as historical, social and emotional elements can aid in understanding the high numbers of Indigenous offenders; finally suggestions will be made on ways to work towards harmony.
Before speculating on reasons for the less than desirable relations between Indigenous people and the police, it is important to look back over history to where the relationship began. Indigenous people had been inhabiting Australia long before it’s ‘discovery’ by Europeans, estimates range from at least 50,000 to 200,000 years (OurVoices, Ch1 2013); they were a well-established and fully functioning society in their own means. When white people settled in Australia and claimed it as their own, they brought with them a whole new culture, filled with foreign ideals and values which made colonisation traumatic for the Indigenous people. The government imposed a range of policies on Indigenous people which saw them almost wiped out from ...


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...t created a framework for which Aboriginal people could use to structure activism (McDonald, 1999, p.299).
Looking at all of the evidence it can be seen that Indigenous levels of incarceration are indeed higher than that of non-Indigenous Australians. This high level can be attributed to emotional factors such as intergenerational trauma; social factors such as low socio-economic status, and people being caught up in the criminal justice cycle – which fails to recognise their cultural disadvantage; and racial attitudes in the police force which stem from a history of police control of Aboriginal life. While there has been a little progress in investigating these matters, there is still much to be done. Some suggestions would be cultural competence training, not only for members of the police force, but for workers in the criminal justice, health and education system.

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