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Residential Alternatives for Indigenous Offenders

NCJ Number
Chris Cunneen
Date Published
October 2001
10 pages
This paper is part of a larger report that reviews current residential correctional alternatives for Indigenous offenders in various jurisdictions in Australia and overseas.
Currently, there are three broad models of residential alternatives that have emerged from existing facilities and programs in Australia. There are residential centers that focus on drug and alcohol detoxification and treatment. These are operated by Indigenous organizations and adopt a holistic philosophy of treatment. Programs incorporate the principles and values of Indigenous culture and history. There are also low-security Indigenous residential alternatives to prison that are operated by Corrective Services. These facilities are designed for Indigenous inmates who have a low-security classification and are nearing the end of their sentence. These facilities are staffed predominately by Indigenous people and may include Aboriginal community members in programs. Programs are tailored to the perspectives and needs of Indigenous inmates. A third residential alternative is a residential program operated by an Indigenous organization under contract to the Department of Corrective Services. Currently, these facilities are designed for Indigenous prisoners with a low-security classification nearing the end of their sentence. This facility differs from the previous facility type in that it is privately operated under contract. There are many Canadian examples of successful facilities patterned after "healing lodges." They are operated by both Canadian Corrections and Aboriginal communities. Initial evaluations of recidivism rates are positive. There are three key themes in the literature on Indigenous diversion, rehabilitation, and crime prevention: the enhancement of self-determination, a holistic approach, and the nurturance of empowerment rather than dependency. With these themes in mind, this paper discusses program management structure and operation, location to foster community support and a native title, issues of referral, legal issues, the legal framework for "residence, funding sources, treatment and program issues, and gender issues."