Aboriginal youth with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder and enmeshment in the Australian justice system: can an intercultural form of restorative justice make a difference?

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Abstract

Aboriginal youth with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are overrepresented in the justice system. FASD results from prenatal alcohol exposure, and may lead to cognitive, social and behavioural difficulties that increase susceptibility to contact with the justice system. This paper explores the potential contribution of restorative justice in creating diversionary options for Aboriginal youth with FASD, and related cognitive impairments, to prevent enmeshment in the justice system. The lesson from work in Australia and New Zealand is that restorative justice and Indigenous justice are different, but not irreconcilable, projects. We suggest that there is the potential for creating rich intercultural engagement spaces ‘in between’ restorative practices and Indigenous processes: provided that restorative justice–as an essentially Eurocentric paradigm of the Global North–does not attempt to colonise Indigenous justice. An appropriate model would have Aboriginal people engaged in the planning and management of diversionary options, with greater focus on diversion into place-based, Aboriginal owned and managed services. Restorative justice needs to engage with the historical demands of Indigenous peoples for their land and their way of life; though constantly imperilled by forces of neo-liberalism and colonialism, Indigenous peoples remain resilient and provide a vision of an alternative to Euro-modernity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-121
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice
Volume22
Issue number2
Early online date5 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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justice
alcohol
way of life
Euro
colonial age
neoliberalism
modernity
New Zealand
contact
paradigm
planning
management

Cite this

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title = "Aboriginal youth with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder and enmeshment in the Australian justice system: can an intercultural form of restorative justice make a difference?",
abstract = "Aboriginal youth with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are overrepresented in the justice system. FASD results from prenatal alcohol exposure, and may lead to cognitive, social and behavioural difficulties that increase susceptibility to contact with the justice system. This paper explores the potential contribution of restorative justice in creating diversionary options for Aboriginal youth with FASD, and related cognitive impairments, to prevent enmeshment in the justice system. The lesson from work in Australia and New Zealand is that restorative justice and Indigenous justice are different, but not irreconcilable, projects. We suggest that there is the potential for creating rich intercultural engagement spaces ‘in between’ restorative practices and Indigenous processes: provided that restorative justice–as an essentially Eurocentric paradigm of the Global North–does not attempt to colonise Indigenous justice. An appropriate model would have Aboriginal people engaged in the planning and management of diversionary options, with greater focus on diversion into place-based, Aboriginal owned and managed services. Restorative justice needs to engage with the historical demands of Indigenous peoples for their land and their way of life; though constantly imperilled by forces of neo-liberalism and colonialism, Indigenous peoples remain resilient and provide a vision of an alternative to Euro-modernity.",
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author = "Harry Blagg and Tamara Tulich and Suzie May",
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