Non-State Policing, Legal Pluralism and the Mundane Governance of 'Crime'

Publisher:
Sydney Law School
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Sydney Law Review, 2018, 40 (4), pp. 445 - 467
Issue Date:
2018-07-31
Full metadata record
Faced with the problem of rising incarceration rates, there has been an emerging discourse in recent years about the need to decolonise justice for Indigenous Australians. While much has been written on the need to embrace initiatives that reflect the Indigenous collective right to self-determination and self-governance, there has been little grounded examination of the everyday politics surrounding these processes. For example, what does self-determination look like in the criminal justice context? What forms of non-State governance constitute self-governance? What activities are considered ‘harmful’, ‘unsafe’ and ‘criminal’ behaviour within local settings, and who ultimately gets to decide what constitutes a ‘crime’? To examine these and related issues, this article presents the findings of an empirical study on Indigenous night patrols: locally-run justice initiatives with formal agendas that focus on improving safety within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This article examines the historic development and contemporary operation of this relatively neglected form of non-State policing. It argues for a greater appreciation of both the diversity and complexity of non-State governance structures in contemporary Australia, as well as how they might contribute to better understandings of self-determination and legal pluralism in the criminal justice context.
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