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Judiciary aims to reduce Aboriginal prison population

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on June 9th, 2002.

Australia's judiciary is adopting new sentencing procedures to reduce the high percentage of Aboriginal people in the nation's prison system.

Pilot initiatives have been in operation in South Australia to provide community mediation in court proceedings.

The Association of Australian Magistrates is meeting in Adelaide to discuss the programs.

Outgoing president Magistrate Fred Field says the initiatives are already succeeding in reducing re-offending in the Aboriginal community.

"The aim of all those initiatives is to break down the rigidity of the Anglo-Saxon court structure where Aboriginal elders can advise the sentencing magistrates and where the magistrate can come down from the bench and sit down and meet the offender and his adviser on the same level," he said.



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