Sorting myth from fact about Aboriginal Justice
Territorians have had many questions about the nature of the Aboriginal Justice Agreement, from wondering whether it creates a separate system of justice to thinking that Community Courts are soft on offenders. There’s also a common perception that Aboriginal people are mostly in jail for failing to pay fines, which is incorrect.
To sort out myth from fact, the Aboriginal Justice Unit has these explanations for the most common questions about the draft Agreement.
Did you know that less than one per cent of the NT prison population where the principal offence is an unpaid fine, is Aboriginal? The most common offences for Aboriginal people are ‘acts intended to cause injury’, which are violent assaults. This is the principal offence recorded for 43 per cent of Aboriginal defendants.
Nine out of 10 victims of family violence are Aboriginal and nine out of 10 victims of assault are Aboriginal.
For non-payment of fines, the AJA has suggested the NT Courts should consider converting fines into community service orders so that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who have accrued debts through fines can work in the community to repay their debt.
Read more on the Common myths about the Aboriginal Justice Agreement page.