An Australian Aboriginal in-prison restorative justice process: a worldview explanation

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As a response to the over-representation of Australian Aboriginal offenders in
Western Australian prisons and high rates of reoffending, this article presents a
sketch of Western and Australian Aboriginal worldviews and core symbols as a
basis for understanding the rehabilitative-restorative needs of this prisoner cohort. The work first reviews and argues that the Western-informed Risk Need Responsivity model of programming for Australian Aboriginal prisoners has limited value for preventing reoffending. An introduction and description are then given to an Aboriginal in-prison restorative justice process (AIPRJP) which is delivered in a regional Western Australian prison. The process is largely undergirded by an Australian Aboriginal worldview and directed to delivering a culturally constructive and corrective intervention. The AIPRJP uses a range of symbolic forms (i.e. ritual, myth, play, art, information), which are adapted to the prison context to bring about the aims of restorative justice. The article contends that culturally informed restorative justice processes can produce intermediate outcomes that can directly or indirectly be associated with reductions in reoffending.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-394
JournalThe International Journal of Restorative Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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