How and why Australia’s legal system fails Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
‘Russell Marks unravels a national tragedy. From the front line he delivers a first-rate, firsthand account of how so many First Nations people end up in jail, again and again.’ —Patrick Dodson, Labor Senator for Western Australia
Indigenous Australians are the most incarcerated people on the planet. Indigenous men are fifteen times more likely to be locked up than their non-Indigenous counterparts; Indigenous women are twenty-one times more likely.
Featuring vivid case studies and drawing on a deep sense of history, Black Lives, White Law explores Australia’s extraordinary record of locking up First Nations people. It examines Australia’s system of criminal justice – the web of laws and courts and police and prisons – and how that system interacts with First Nations people and communities. How is it that so many are locked up? Why have imprisonment rates increased in recent years? Is this situation fair? Almost everyone agrees that it’s not. And yet it keeps getting worse.
In this groundbreaking book, Russell Marks investigates Australia’s incarceration epidemic. What would happen if the institutions of Australian justice received the same scrutiny to which they routinely subject Indigenous Australians?
‘How should we tell the story of Indigenous incarceration in Australia? Only part of it is in the numbers. And we can’t get very far by looking at the crimes that see Indigenous offenders punished by courts and sentenced to prison … To really grapple with the problem of Indigenous incarceration requires us to accept the possibility that there might be another way. That the current state of affairs – where entire families sometimes spend time behind bars – is not inevitable.’—Russell Marks