Nothing Works? A Meta-Review of Indigenous Sentencing Court Evaluations
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Indigenous-focused criminal justice programs are usually evaluated and studied without an adherence to, or acknowledgement of, Indigenous epistemologies, axiologies and ontologies. Indeed, many of the evaluations conducted of Australian Indigenous sentencing courts have relied on quantitative analyses of reoffending, finding little or no impact on recidivism, despite there being some evidence, derived mainly from qualitative analyses, that they have had an impact on strengthening informal social controls within Indigenous communities. This article uses published evaluations and impact studies of Indigenous sentencing courts as a case study to gain a better understanding of how these courts have been evaluated and researched, and how the methodological approaches used to study the courts may not properly capture the Indigenous-focused and community-building aims and goals of the programs. Employing a meta-review approach, the article examines why research that evaluates Indigenous-focused criminal justice programs should rethink how evaluations are framed and conducted when trying to determine 'what works'.
Current Issues in Criminal Justice
Copyright 2017, Published by The Institute of Criminology, University of Sydney. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Criminology not elsewhere classified