HUMN 2070 First Peoples and Criminal Justice

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102916

Coordinator Robyn Newitt Opens in new window

Description How does colonialism underscore the foundational narratives, knowledges and operation of the legal and criminal justice institutions of colonised nations? Focusing primarily on the Australian context of colonial invasion and settlement, this unit explores the plight of Indigenous peoples and their severe over-representation in the Australian criminal justice system. Studying the impact of colonisation and exploring Indigenous narratives, students will critically examine issues faced by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and their experience of criminal justice in Australia. Overall, the unit will equip students with an understanding of the relationship between dominant colonial narratives of race and institutional racism, while considering how Indigenous knowledge can inform better social and criminal justice outcomes for Indigenous populations. Comparative examples of criminal (in)justice for Indigenous populations in other colonised nations will also be considered.

School Social Sciences

Discipline Indigenous Studies

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject

Equivalent Subjects CULT 2019 - First Peoples and Criminal Justice

Incompatible Subjects WELF 2008 - Human Rights Human Services and the Law

Restrictions Successful completion of 40 credit points.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. Understand the enduring social and criminal justice impact of colonisation on Indigenous populations.
  2. Develop a critical appreciation of the colonial underpinnings of our legal and criminal justice systems and the notion of institutional racism.
  3. Demonstrate a robust understanding of intersectional disadvantage as it impacts Australia�fs First Peoples.
  4. Apply decolonial and critical postcolonial texts and knowledges to contemporary criminal justice interventions.

Subject Content

Invasion and settlement: the history of colonisation in Australia
Colonialism, racialisation and criminalisation of Indigenous peoples
Liberalism and the imposition of white man?fs law
The ?ewelfare?f state, protectionism and Stolen Generations
The legacies of colonialism: are we post-colonial?
Contemporary social and criminal justice issues affecting remote and urban Indigenous populations in Australia:
- Intersectional disadvantages affecting Indigenous populations: race, gender, class, disability
- Institutional racism and over-intervention
- Over-policing and deaths in custody
- Indigenous over-representation in prisons
Decolonising criminal justice: Indigenous knowledges informing social and criminal justice outcomes


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Case Study 900 words 30 N Individual
Professional Task 900 words 30 N Individual
Critical Review 1,200 words 40 N Individual

Teaching Periods


Penrith (Kingswood)


Subject Contact Robyn Newitt Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window



Subject Contact Robyn Newitt Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window



Subject Contact Robyn Newitt Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window