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Aborigines, Cowboys, "Firewater" and Jail: the view from the frontier

  • Broadhurst, Roderic G.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1994
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive
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In 1988-89 Hall, Hunter and Spargo conducted a self-report study of alcohol consumption and the relationship to incarceration among Aborigines of the remote sparsely populated Kimberley region, north-west Australia . Hall et al do not state a hypothesis but have two aims: firstly " examine the relationship between self-reported alcohol consumption and the risks of incarceration in police lock-up" and secondly; to "...estimate the risk of incarceration in police cells among Aboriginal men and women in the Kimberley". These aims reflect the popular but controversial notion that alcohol causes crime. The alcohol-crime nexus is often assumed the central problem in race relations, particularly in rural Australia. Their method, however, cannot explain the relationship between alcohol and crime without information about offending that occurs when alcohol is consumed. Thus the specific relationships between alcohol use, policing, incarceration and race unique to the region are obscured by both an imprecise self-report method and the absence of a guiding hypothesis.

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