Indigenous People, Crime and Punishment examines criminal sentencing courts’ changing characterisations of Indigenous peoples’ identity, culture and postcolonial status. Focusing largely on Australian Indigenous peoples, but referring also to the Canadian and New Zealand experiences, Thalia Anthony critically analyzes how the judiciary have interpreted Indigenous difference. Through an analysis of Indigenous sentencing decisions and remarks over a fifty year period in a number of jurisdictions, the book demonstrates how discretion is moulded to cultural assumptions about Indigeneity. More specifically, Indigenous People, Crime and Punishment shows how the increasing demonisation of Indigenous criminality and culture in sentencing has turned earlier ‘gains’ in the legal recognition of Indigenous peoples on their head. The recognition of Indigenous difference is thereby revealed as a pliable concept that is just as likely to remove rights as it is to grant them.
Overall, Indigenous People, Crime and Punishment is an engaging multidisciplinary text. By weaving together a substantive body of law with criminological understanding, Anthony anchors the role of recognition in the sentencing process in a broader social and historical context. Illustrated by recent and relevant cases, legislative reforms and policy changes, each chapter builds logically on the next to culminate in a persuasive argument to the flawed and contradictory process of recognition in sentencing. The narrowed focus of the text, predominantly considering a single theory in a single state jurisdiction, allows it to achieve a depth of analysis not possible for other more general works in this field.
Emily Bill, University of Tasmania, for HeinOnline (2014)
Introduction: Re-imagining the Indigenous criminal; Chapter One: Control metaphors in Indigenous sentencing; Chapter Two: Colonial and postcolonial Indigenous punishment; Chapter Four: Sentencing away culture and customary marriage; Chapter Five: Traditional Punishment in the New Punitiveness; Chapter Six: Sentencing ‘disadvantaged alcoholics’; Chapter Seven: Sentencing Indigenous resisters as if the racism never occurred; Conclusion/Epilogue: Burgeoning control metaphors in sentencing