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Evaluation of the Queensland Murri Court: Final Report

NCJ Number
Anthony Morgan; Erin Louis
Date Published
180 pages
This report presents the findings from the Australian Institute of Criminology's comprehensive evaluation of the Queensland Murri Court, an Indigenous and specialty court program.
The results of the evaluation show that the Murri Court has been successful in achieving many of its objectives that include: (1) reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous offenders in prison and juvenile detention; (2) improving court appearance rates; (3) reducing reoffending; and (4) strengthening the partnership between the court and Indigenous community in dealing with Indigenous justice issues. The Magistracy established Queensland's first sentencing court for Indigenous offenders in 2002. The court, known as the Murri Court, is based on the Nunga Court model in South Australia and aimed at addressing Indigenous overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. The Murri Courts operate within a Magistrates Court framework, but provide additional opportunities for greater involvement of Indigenous Elders and respected persons, the offender's family, Indigenous community organizations, and community justice groups in the sentencing of Indigenous offenders. The Murri Court is designed to be more informal, less intimidating, and where possible, deliver sentences that focus on rehabilitation. This report presents findings from an evaluation, which included a detailed assessment of the operation of the Adult and Youth Murri Courts at each of the five evaluation sites. The evaluation involved reviewing the key features of the Murri Court program, the role of each stakeholder involved in the program, important differences between the courts and issues relating to the operation of the program in individual courts. The Murri Court has demonstrated considerable success in improving the relationship between the Magistrates Court and Indigenous justice issues. Several strategies to improve the operation and effectiveness of the Murri Court are highlighted. Tables, figures, and references