The Case for Single Cells and Alternative Ways of viewing
MetadataShow full item record
Until recently there was an assumption that Australian Aboriginal prisoners should be accommodated in dual occupancy or dormitory accommodation while in custody to best meet cultural needs, primarily to prevent social isolation. This historical assumption is reflected in the national guidelines for prison accommodation, various coronial and royal commission recommendations for both police and prison accommodation and evolved from the problem-solving approaches to the custodial arrangements of Australian Aboriginal peoples instituted by custodial agencies and stakeholder consultations with Aboriginal groups. This paper presents the findings from the first empirical study of the needs and preferences of Australian Aboriginal prisoners in custody. It suggests that certain types of shared and dormitory accommodation present a myriad of complex implications for Aboriginal prisoners. Such accommodation may not be the most favourable or preferred model for such individuals. And may, in fact, be a simulacrum in meeting the needs of Aboriginal prisoners for living as a social group. The paper presents new understandings and a number of socio-cultural options for viewing custodial accommodation that have significance to prisoner outcomes at various end-points in the criminal justice system.