Coffs part of a Koori court pilot
A KOORI court pilot scheme to be introduced in NSW will aim to address the state’s rising indigenous imprisonment rates.
Centres of large Aboriginal communities on the Mid North Coast, including Kempsey, Coffs Harbour, Macksville and Bellingen are expected to be involved in the upcoming State Government scheme.
The new approach in dealing with Aboriginal defendants comes as research shows indigenous imprisonment rates have risen by 48 per cent in NSW.
Attorney General John Hatzistergos has told an Aboriginal Justice forum that the State Government is committed to engaging local Aboriginal people in the judicial decision making process.
“Our ultimate goal is to have a number of options available to magistrates and communities in dealing with Aboriginal crime that will allow them to choose the most appropriate option, both for the offender and the nature of the crime,” Mr Hatzistergos told the forum.
He said a juvenile circle court model would be tested to see if it’s effective in stopping Aboriginal youth re-offending.
The new court system along with circle sentencing will involve Aboriginal defendants with long criminal histories and previous prison records.