The elements of indigenous criminology

Chris Cunneen  

This paper draws on the recently published book Indigenous Criminology (Policy Press, 2016) and co-authored with Juan Tauri.

In a non-prescriptive way, it sets out what we see as the key elements that make-up an Indigenous criminology. It discusses methodological, theoretical and political intersections to ‘doing’ Indigenous criminology.


Chris Cunneen is Professor of Criminology jointly in the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences and Law, University of NSW, Sydney, Australia. He has an international reputation as a leading criminologist working in the areas of Indigenous people and the law, juvenile justice, restorative justice, policing, prison issues and human rights. Previously, Professor Cunneen taught criminology at the University of Sydney Law School from 1990-2005, and was Director of the Institute of Criminology, University of Sydney from 1999-2005. He was also the Chairperson of the New South Wales Juvenile Justice Advisory Council (2000-2007) and a member of the New South Wales Aboriginal Child Sexual Assault Taskforce (2003-2006). He also holds a conjoint position with the Cairns Institute at James Cook University. Professor Cunneen is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Professor Cunneen has conducted research work for a number of Indigenous and human rights organisations, including the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and their National Inquiry into Racist Violence. He was also a consultant to the National Inquiry into Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families. His most recent books include Indigenous Criminology (c-authored with Juan Tauri, Policy Press, 2016), Justice Reinvestment. Winding Back Imprisonment (with Brown, Schwartz, Stubbs and Young, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), Juvenile Justice. Youth and Crime in Australia (co-authored with Rob White and Kelly Richards, Oxford University Press, 2015), and Penal Culture and Hyperincarceration (with Baldry, et al, Ashgate, 2013).


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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