Necropolitics and the violence of Indigenous incarceration

Broadfield, Kirstie, Dawes, Glenn, and Chong, Mark David (2021) Necropolitics and the violence of Indigenous incarceration. Decolonising Criminology and Justice, 3 (1). pp. 5-26.

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Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, over thirty years ago, there have been over 400 Indigenous deaths in custody, with 28% of the Australian prison population identifying as Indigenous. Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system continues to be an unresolved issue despite varying attempts to reduce the high incidence of incarceration experienced by Indigenous Australians. This paper proposes a fresh approach to analysing the violence of Indigenous incarceration using the theory of necropolitics. The paper represents a critical discussion of an ongoing research project that demonstrates how an analytical framework based on necropolitics has the potential to elevate the often-silenced voices of vulnerable populations, such as Indigenous Australians, within the criminal justice system. This is because the study will present a multi-level analysis of the overt and covert forms of violence perpetrated against Indigenous Australians within the criminal justice system and unlock the potential of exposing the extent to which unequal relations of power contribute to these forms of violence. The significance of this research therefore lies in its capacity to provide policymakers with deeper insights into how such forms of violence impact upon and further disempower Indigenous Australians in the Australian criminal justice system.

Item ID: 64519
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2703-1861
Keywords: Indigenous Australian, violence, incarceration, necropolitics, necropower, criminal justice
Copyright Information: This journal provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Such access is associated with increased readership and increased citation of an author's work. All articles are made available using a Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0) internationally shareable licence, meaning that content may be shared worldwide but the source must be acknowledged appropriately. However, the licence excludes the right to create derivatives (for more details please see
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2020 02:34
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4402 Criminology > 440206 Critical approaches to crime @ 20%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4402 Criminology > 440202 Correctional theory, offender treatment and rehabilitation @ 10%
48 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 4805 Legal systems > 480501 Access to justice @ 70%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940403 Criminal Justice @ 50%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940404 Law Enforcement @ 50%
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