Australian Indigenous Group or Populations Essay

Pages: 8 (3009 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
While it's impossible to evaluate and determine the exact extent of the indigenous people's over-representation in the criminal justice system, the Royal Commission has reported that a measure of structural bias within the criminal justice system is partly the reason for the population's arrests, incarceration, and detention. Despite the assumption that these people commit more offenses due to certain underlying factors, the high rates of crime do not completely explain the varying jurisdictions in Australia. However, while the Commission cites structural bias as one of the reasons, it acknowledges the existence of several and multifaceted underlying reasons that result in high rates of crime among the indigenous people. Some of these major underlying factors include issues associated with housing, education, employment, substance abuse, and the need for fostering the indigenous family and cultural lifestyle ("Aboriginal People and the Criminal Justice System," n.d.).

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Police attitudes, actions, and behaviors towards the Australian indigenous people as well as the structural bias in the criminal justice system has partly resulted suicidal ideation and self-harm for these people. The risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation among the indigenous people occur to those held in custody. The other possible factors that contribute to such thoughts and feelings include the underlying issues that these people continue to face and the widely spread discrimination or negative attitudes from the non-indigenous Australians. This has led to the need for police to adopt necessary measures to evaluate and lessen the risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation.

Evaluating and Mitigating the Risk of Self-Harm and Suicidal Ideation:

Essay on Australian Indigenous Group or Populations Assignment

Due to the probability of self-harm and suicidal ideation to emerge in incarcerated indigenous people, there is a huge need for police officers to evaluate and mitigate the risk of these aspects to occur. The need for such measures is further enhanced by the fact that the prison experience for the indigenous people is quite different from that of non-indigenous people. This is despite of the fact that prison regimes and standards are developed for the Western society and implemented across all prisoners despite of their descent and background. Some of the major ways for dealing with the risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation as well as improving the prison conditions for the Australian indigenous people include & #8230;

Changing Protocols:

Police officers can effectively assess and mitigate this risk through changing protocols to cater for the majority of indigenous inmates and avoid structural racism ("Improving Aboriginal Prison Conditions," 2012). The need to cater for these specific cultural needs of incarcerated indigenous people across prisons is enhanced by the fact that Australia's prison rates indicate that many prisons currently house a majority of indigenous housemates. While these prisons house many Indigenous inmates, they have not addressed their specific cultural needs, which have significantly contributed to structural racism.

Notably, the concept of structural racism does not imply that individual staffs have racist or discriminatory beliefs or attitudes but is generally looks to outcomes instead of intentions (Harding, 2008). In this case, structural racism occurs if the provision of amenities, conditions, and services show that they will not simply be tolerated in non-indigenous prisons. Therefore, the structural racism originates from systemic difference or the failure of all levels within the organization that raises doubts regarding an individual's own assumptions about what is acceptable. The difficulty associated with this overt and attitudinal racism is that it's more difficult to confront and challenge.

The need for police officers to deal with structural racism is fueled by the fact that it's the major contributing factor towards self-harm and suicidal ideation among indigenous inmates. Police officers can assess and mitigate this risk by identifying conditions or situations adopted in indigenous prisons that are not acceptable or used in the non-indigenous prisons. Following the identification, these officers can proceed to change the protocols while taking into consideration the cultural needs of the indigenous inmates. Such measures would not only be critical in avoiding structural racism that has characterized indigenous prisons but it would help to mitigate the risk of suicidal ideation and self-harm by these inmates.

Adopting Indigenous-sensitive Standards:

The change of protocols to address the risk can be supported by the adoption of indigenous-sensitive standards by police officers. Actually, the Office of the Custodial Inspector has developed and established some aboriginal-sensitive standards. These standards could be helpful in evaluating and mitigating the risks since they address the cultural needs of the indigenous inmates.

Some of these standards include lessening long-distance transports, recognizing leaders in their specific roles in prison, increasing indigenous staff working in the prisons, training the current prison staff to be culturally respectful and stop using racial abuse or slurs, and recognizing the funeral obligations of the indigenous people. The other standards are conducting mandatory health checks when the indigenous prisoners are admitted, preparing for the release of these inmates through suitable training and treatment programs, and releasing the prisoners back to country.

Nonetheless, conducting in-country custody and minimizing long-distance transports have emerged as the two major standards that police officers can use to lessen the risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation among indigenous prisoners. This is primarily because many indigenous inmates are subjected to out-of-country custody in which they are incarcerated several kilometers from their home country. Secondly, long-distance transport contributes to the death of these inmates like in 2008 when it resulted in the painful death of an indigenous prisoner in extreme temperature of 42-degrees.

Necessary Considerations to Satisfy the Duty of Care:

As the oldest inhabitants of the Australian society, the indigenous people are one of the oldest living cultures across the globe (Schnierer, 2010). These indigenous communities continue to live their culture through practicing and handling down tradition, language, knowledge, rituals, and arts. As this population has undergone discrimination throughout its history despite the recent attempts to eliminate the discrimination, there are some necessary considerations to satisfy the duty of care for the group. Some of these considerations include:

Protection of Heritage and Culture:

Since the beginning of the 1970's, several efforts have been made towards the protection of the culture and heritage of indigenous people. However, some these initiatives have failed in their quest for protecting the Aboriginal heritage and culture because they did not have the real power to do so. Currently, there are no proper protections of the culture and heritage of this people even though Australian successive governments have promised broad reforms.

The protection of the culture and heritage of the indigenous people is a significant design, legal, ethical, and operational consideration that should be addressed in order to satisfy the duty of care among this population. This is primarily because the discrimination and disadvantages associated with the indigenous population originates from disregard of their heritage and culture. As long as these two vital aspects of this group are ignored or disregarded, it's extremely difficult to satisfy duty of care.

Sense of Belonging or Solidarity:

Similar to other vulnerable groups, the Australian indigenous community has a common set of values and behavioral norms that promote cooperation and problem solving (Lodder, 2003). These values and behavioral norms create a sense of belonging or solidarity for the individual members. Therefore, the sense of belonging or solidarity is an important consideration that must be taken into account in order to satisfy the duty of care among Australian indigenous population.

Conclusion:

The indigenous population is one of the earliest inhabitants of the Australian continent with a history that stretches back to tens of thousands of years. Despite being the earliest inhabitants of this region, these people are still one of the vulnerable or disadvantages group in the country. Their disadvantage basically originates from the extensive discrimination they have experienced throughout history. Therefore, the main way of addressing their vulnerability is through tackling the discrimination.

References:

"Aboriginal People and the Criminal Justice System." (n.d.). Aboriginal Customary Laws

Discussion Paper. Retrieved from Law Reform Commission of Western Australia website: http://www.lrc.justice.wa.gov.au/2publications/reports/ACL/DP/Part_05C.pdf

"About Indigenous Australia." (2007, July 28). Reconciliation Action Network. Retrieved September 25, 2012, from http://reconciliaction.org.au/nsw/education-kit/about/

Andrews, P. & Eames, G. (1994). Aboriginal People and the Law. Retrieved September 25,

2012, from http://www.libertyvictoria.org/discussion-1994-aboriginal.pdf

"Challenges Facing the Indigenous Community Today." (n.d.). Skwirk.com.au. Retrieved

September 25, 2012, from http://www.skwirk.com.au/p-c_s-17_u-455_t-1230_c-4707/sa/sose/aboriginal-people-and-torres-strait-islanders/indigenous-people-today/challenges-facing-the-indigenous-community-today

Harding, R. (2008, July 15). Inspection Standards for Aboriginal Prisoners. Retrieved from Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services website: http://www.custodialinspector.wa.gov.au/download.cfm?DownloadFile=1B508203-E7F2-2F96-34C4B54C4457C598

"Improving Aboriginal Prison Conditions." (2012, September 24). Law and Justice. Retrieved September 25, 2012, from http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/law/improving-aboriginal-prison-conditions

Lodder, S. (2003). Stronger Families Learning Exchange Bulletin. Retrieved from Australian

Institute of Family Studies website: http://www.aifs.gov.au/sf/pubs/bull4/sl.html

Schnierer, E. (2010, August). Caring for Culture. Retrieved September 25, 2012, from http://www.alc.org.au/media/69363/caring%20for%20culture%20final.pdf

"Summary of Australian Indigenous Health." (n.d.). Australian Indigenous -- Health Info Net.

Retrieved from Edith Cowan University website: http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/health-facts/summary [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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