Aboriginal people are grossly over-represented before the courts and in our gaols. Despite numerous inquiries, State and Federal, and the considerable funds spent trying to understand this phenomenon, nothing has changed. Indigenous people continue to be apprehended, sentenced, incarcerated and die in gaols. One part of this depressing and seemingly inexorable process is the behaviour of police.
Drawing on research from across Australia, Chris Cunneen focuses on how police and Aboriginal people interact in urban and rural environments. He explores police history and police culture, the nature of Aboriginal offending and the prevalence of over-policing, the use of police discretion, the particular circumstances of Aboriginal youth and Aboriginal women, the experience of community policing and the key police responses to Aboriginal issues. He traces the pressures on both sides of the equation brought by new political demands.
In exploring these issues, Conflict, Politics and Crime argues that changing the nature of contemporary relations between Aboriginal people and the police is a key to altering Aboriginal over-representation in the criminal justice system, and a step towards the advancement of human rights.