Go to top of page

An approach to Aboriginal criminology

Australian Institute of Criminology

At the cutting edge of the contact between black and white communities in this country is the law and particularly the manner of its enforcement. Its gross injustice to the Aboriginal, in its present form - or the dangers of the injustice to others of allowing too many exceptions for Aboriginals - are issues that have been paraded by scholars, agencies and departments again and again. The resolution of the problem will undoubtedly be as political as it is technical or scientific - and whatever happens the well-aired debate can be expected to continue.

Aboriginal criminology should mean a concern with the concepts of crime amongst Aboriginals and their methods of social control. But because this is a community subject to the laws of a wider society, one needs to be equally concerned with Aboriginal perceptions of white man's law and the effects of its enforcement on Aboriginal communities. Just how fair is it? In any such study, however, the subject is turned upside down by one phenomenon of such immense importance that it forces us to give it prior attention - namely the extent to which Australia's criminal justice systems are overburdened with arrested and convicted Aboriginals. (Introduction - edited)

(John Barry Memorial Lecture 1981)

Cite article

Clifford W 1982. An approach to Aboriginal criminology. Archive. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/archive/an-approach-to-aboriginal-criminology