The Northern Territory (N.T.) of Australia has the highest imprisonment rate per capita in the country. The vast majority of prisoners (86%) are Indigenous Australian despite only 30% of the N.T. population identifying as Indigenous. This paper investigates factors influencing this over-representation. The most common reason for imprisonment concerns violence. Alcohol is consumed in high quantities, particularly in Central Australia and is thought to affect incarceration rates. Recent strategies to control alcohol abuse in the N.T. have been ineffective in comparison with other states of Australia. Notwithstanding that crimes committed are serious enough to warrant arrest, the cumulative effects of past and recent history have resulted in poor educational outcomes for Indigenous Australian children which influence employment opportunities. Solutions to reduce imprisonment must address the nexus between education, meaningful employment and community-led alcohol management strategies. Failure to adopt this approach may perpetuate ever-increasing imprisonment of Indigenous Australians.


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pp. 11-29
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