Since the arrival of Europeans more and more emphasis has been placed on the law and how to reprimand individuals or groups who stepped outside of the perception of the law. The back bone of the system is detention or incarceration. Prisons,jails and detention centres have continued to increase up to the present date; needless to say the inmate population has grown exponentially. Statistics show the imbalance of indigenous inmates incarnated far out ways the norm within society. These unacceptable rates of indigenous incarceration vary from state and territories of Australia, whether it is adult men or women, juveniles, boys or girls. In 2016-2017, the Royal Commission highlighted many of the atrocities being perpetrated on Indigenous youth in custody within the Northern Territory. We should not be that naive to believe that incidents and behaviour could, and would be restricted to just the Territory.
The Conference takes the stand that the best way to stop incidents such as these is not repeated is quite simple. Our society needs to develop better strategies and practices to stop our youth being incarcerated or removed from their families. For after all, it has been shown that once someone enters the justice system in incarceration the harder it is to break the cycle of re-offending and eventually ending up in the adult justice and imprisonment system. It’s been 234 years since the arrival of Europeans and the question may need to be asked,” What did Indigenous Communities do when it comes to juveniles or young offenders, broke traditional law”? Since the beginning of time youth have been rebellious and not all have complied with their Elders, parents or society. As such, this conference will highlight and spotlight programs and initiatives that have are built upon the basis of prevention works better than detention. Throughout the breadth of the country there are many innovative initiatives being developed, trialled or implemented based upon the principle of Intervention rather than detention.