The majority of Aboriginal people will never offend nor become involved in the Victorian criminal justice system. However there is a minority who will offend and once involved in the system have an increased risk of lifelong involvement.

The over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system is a complex and enduring issue.  It remains high, and the conditions that led to the signing of the first AJA remain as valid today as they were in 2000.

Although the numbers and rates of Aboriginal young people and adults involved in the criminal justice system in Victoria are lower than most other Australian jurisdictions and national figures, they are high when compared to the non-Aboriginal population and are increasing.

Between 2011-12 and 2016-17, the rate of Aboriginal adults under justice supervision increased by 52.6 per cent (from 294.5 to 449.5 per 10,000) compared with a 34 per cent increase among non-Aboriginal adults (from 28.6 to 38.4 per 10,000)[i]. In 2016-17, Aboriginal adults were 11.7 times more likely than non-Aboriginal adults to be under justice supervision in Victoria.

Figure 1. Adults under justice supervision (community corrections and prison) in Victoria, rates per 10,000 population

The rates of Aboriginal adults under justice supervision have increased more than the rates of non-Aboriginal adults under justice supervision in Victoria.

Source: Corrections Victoria, ABS 3238.0 Aboriginal Population Estimates and Projections, ABS 3101.1 Australian Demographic Statistics

Over the past five years, the rate of Aboriginal youth (aged 10-17 years) under justice supervision decreased by 13.1 per cent (from 170.2 to 147.9 per 10,000) compared with a 34.8 per cent decrease among non-Aboriginal youth (from 16.2 to 10.6 per 10,000)[ii]. In 2016-17, Aboriginal youth were 14 times more likely than non-Aboriginal youth to be under justice supervision in Victoria.

Figure 2. Youth (10-17 years) under justice supervision (community-based and detention) in Victoria, rates per 10,000 population

Source: AIHW, Youth Justice 2016-17, ABS 3238.0 Aboriginal Population Estimates and Projections, ABS 3101.1 Australian Demographic Statistics

 


[i] Corrections Victoria Data Warehouse, 2017, with rates calculated using Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014, 3238.0 – Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026, Retrieved 27 April 2018 <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3238.0 (External link)>.

[ii] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017, Youth Justice in Australia 2015-16, Retrieved 27 April 2018 https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/youth-justice/youth-justice-in-australia-2015-16/ (External link) with rates calculated using Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014, 3238.0 – Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026, Retrieved 27 April 2018 <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3238.0 (External link)>.