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The Forum > General Discussion > The Indigenous, Juvenile Justice System - A success or failure ?

The Indigenous, Juvenile Justice System - A success or failure ?

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Today, I heard a comment on ABC radio from Mr Warren Mundine, a well respected individual, involved in Aboriginal Justice issues.

He said in part that Aboriginals are far too highly represented in gaols, and something needs to be done about it. He further added, many young offenders looked upon their incarceration as a badge of honour, a 'right of passage' if you will.

I must admit, other than dealing with the usual street offences, I've not had much to do with this group, but I know of many who've had.

There's an old saying within the job, when it comes to a radio call, or a sighted offence concerning youths or indigenous offenders, it's described as 'FIDO', (IF) you can get away with it ! I'll not apprise you as to what it means, but I'm sure you can guess ? Turn around, and go the other way. Too much trouble, too much paperwork, and a very unsympathetic even antagonistic Court system, towards police.

Are we too soft or too hard on these specific indigenous group ?

Personally, I agree with Mr Mundine. I don't believe gaol is either the answer nor appropriate for these youths. They often 'feed' on the notariety and hero status they receive from their friends and associates, by having been in gaol.

The only exception to the above proposition, is when a serious crime has been committed, then gaol is both necessary and appropriate.

Further, one young bloke I'd something to do with, the mere fact he'd been in the 'go slow', he tried to imply to all his mates, and enemies (including me) that he was a 'heavy', and as such he could intimidate everyone. This poor bloke did his 'boob' pretty hard from what I heard, and was unfortunately doomed to a very sad life and ending.

What do you all think ? Are we too tough, or not tough enough on our indigenous youth ?
Posted by o sung wu, Wednesday, 9 January 2013 1:11:46 PM
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Of course it doesn't work, just as it doesn't work for the horrible young white & brindle thugs wandering our streets.

No "justice" system will ever work without punishment to fit the crime, to enforce it's dictates. Years of gentle wrist slapping, followed by a trip to a holiday camp, with much better food, beds & toys than they are used to at home, is sure not punishment.

We need to have the ton of bricks type treatment of yesteryear, & a punishment system that will make those who experience it very loath to go back.

I like the idea of useful work. Clearing the junk that is our national parks today would be a good one. It might have to be a chain gang type system. The wardens may not be safe with little hoods, armed with axes & machetes loose.

Just like the dog, or horse, firmly trained as a youngster, has a much happier life because of it's ability to comfortable fit in it's world, so too would these people, of any colour, have a much happier life, if they could fit in, rather than fight the system.

The result of antisocial behavior must be made too unpalatable to be pursued by all but the simple minded, so the young hood decides for themselves, not to go there.
Posted by Hasbeen, Thursday, 10 January 2013 12:43:23 PM
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OSW, Warren Mundine is a good bloke with a decent brain in his head, and his badge of courage comment is valid. I grew up in Sydney’s inner city in the 1960’s and 70’s. I remember the coppers choosing straws to see who answers a call to the “county”…..Redfern.

I remember the form policing took back then, with the young 21st Division cops wandering at will and pulling anyone who looked like trouble. A smack in the face and a kick up the arse happened ten times a night back then. It scared the tripe out of the lightweights and kept the goers in line.

Young and testosterone enriched is not a new invention, but back then the kids had jobs if they wanted them, and most kids did. With an unemployment rate of 30%, if you take into account the statistic hiding betterment schemes the social security has them on, the devil finds work for the idle hands, as they say.

Aboriginal kids, ethnic kids, Anglo kids, if your parents are poor and you are unemployed, you probably will get into trouble. Further to that technology has sold “gangster” as the vocation to aspire to. Kids are clay and we get what we mould.

None of what I said means that I am a turn the cheek sort of person….do the crime…do the time, but a generation of kids, poor or rich have factors that can lead them off the rails in a myriad of directions. The Yanks have the hard love concept, I like it,….it makes sense, because we have a generation of video hardened youths who laugh at and spit on the soft hand of misplaced compassion. These kids don’t need compassion; they need a vocation and a smack in the mouth.
Posted by sonofgloin, Thursday, 10 January 2013 2:51:21 PM
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This lyric from West Side Story, a musical from the 1960's. Says it all.


Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke,
You gotta understand,
It's just our bringing' up-ke
That gets us out of hand.
Our mothers all are junkies,
Our fathers all are drunks.
Golly Moses, naturally we're punks!

Gee, Officer Krupke, we're very upset;
We never had the love that every child oughta get.
We ain't no delinquents,
We're misunderstood.
Deep down inside us there is good!

Dear kindly Judge, your Honor,
My parents treats me rough.
With all their marijuana,
They won't give me a puff.
They didn't wanna have me,
But somehow I was had.
Leapin' lizards! That's why I'm so bad!

Officer Krupke, you're really a square;
This boy don't need a judge, he needs an analyst's care!
It's just his neurosis that oughta be curbed.
He's psychologic'ly disturbed!

We're disturbed, we're disturbed,
We're the most disturbed,
Like we're psychologic'ly disturbed.

Officer Krupke You gotta understand.
My father is a bastard,
My ma's an S.O.B.
My grandpa's always plastered,
My grandma pushes tea.
My sister wears a mustache,
My brother wears a dress.
Goodness gracious, that's why I'm a mess!

Officer Krupke, you're really a slob.
This boy don't need a doctor, just a good honest job.
Society's played him a terrible trick,
And sociologic'ly he's sick!

Dear kindly social worker,
They say go earn a buck.
Like be a soda jerker,
Which means like be a schumck.
It's not I'm anti-social,
I'm only anti-work.
Gloryosky! That's why I'm a jerk!

Officer Krupke, you've done it again.
This boy don't need a job, he needs a year in the pen.
It ain't just a question of misunderstood;
Deep down inside him, he's no good.

Not much changes, except the social issues being portaid are from 1960's New York all got here eventually.
Posted by sonofgloin, Thursday, 10 January 2013 3:21:11 PM
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If Aborigines have a higher representation in gaols it is a safe bet they also have a higher rate of offending. It is likely the same families.

Criminals exercise choice. A criminal would want to diminish his responsibility for his crime. The hanky wringers must accept the obvious: most from the worst environments take pride in their appearance, do not commit offences and find work. Then there is the smaller percentage who take the easy way, crime. Likewise the first group exercise self-control whereas the second group like biff and beat others as recreation.

There is little research on youth crime and violence. Who knows what is happening? The proportion of prisoners identifying as aboriginal might be higher. But the overall incidence of crime could lower. Criminologists say crime is trending down. I am not so sure about crimes of violence and burglary;

Secondly, youth offenders would get their street cred from committing a crime. Seriousness of the crime and usefulness to the gang would likely determine the amount of street cred. Sure there might be some extra bragging from a penalty. The downside is the stupidity in getting caught; and

Thirdly, you don't get a custodial sentence for a minor offence. Do we truly want to let them off punishment? Maybe the real problem is that they don't believe they will be caught and are surprised to land in front of the Beak. Then they are simply astonished to be hit with a penalty when the sob story fails. The few who serve are lessons to others.

If we really want indigenous to feel equal and be responsible lets stop patronising them. Honestly, what difference is there between the black, white or whatever feral who gets the drop on some naive kid and grinds a broken glass into his face?
Posted by onthebeach, Thursday, 10 January 2013 4:23:45 PM
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o sung wo you know the answer.
I do too.
We see comments from some that damage any thoughts of true debate.
SOME go to prison or boys homes to get away from home, get away, sometimes from sexual abuse of other males.
Some had so little an education the act more racist than small town whites and never understand it.
Some never know just how low their acts are, increasingly violent hold ups and break ins.
IF WE cared, we would give love TOUGH LOVE.
But our contribution is do gooders and whites making a buck out of keeping the country mission towns in business.
From out side Australia looking in, it would not be hard to say we support separatism, them in missions, us housed better.
But while ever it goes unpunished houses will be wrecked and crimes committed.
TOUGH LOVE is real love.
Posted by Belly, Thursday, 10 January 2013 4:48:33 PM
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