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Murri courts were founded in Queensland in 2006 in response to the increasing representation of Indigenous people in prison. Murri courts sentenced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders who pleaded guilty to an offence which falls within the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court. Services offered by Murri courts included the use of Aboriginal customs to support and rehabilitate Indigenous offenders, and the voluntary work of Indigenous Elders who were sometimes involved in the sentencing process.
Murri courts were an initiative of the Courts innovation programs, which were established to coordinate a number of proactive court diversion, treatment and sentencing initiatives in Queensland. Courts were established in:
Abstract adapted from Queensland Courts
Murri court Manager
Department of Justice and Attorney-General
Brisbane Magistrates Courts
363 George Street
Brisbane Qld 4000
GPO Box 1649
Brisbane Qld 4001
Ph: (07) 3109 9187
Fax: (07) 3109 9560
Murri courts operates within a Magistrates Court framework but provide for involvement of key Indigenous members of the community, the offender's family, Indigenous community organisations and Community justice groups in the sentencing of Indigenous offenders. This report outlines the findings from the Australian Institute of Criminology's evaluation of the Queensland Murri court. The evaluation examined the Murri court's key objectives including:
The evaluation found the Murri court to be largely successful in achieving these objectives, especially in strengthening partnerships. Rates of court appearance were found to have improved during the tenre of the Murri court, however there was no perceivable impact upon the rate of recidivism amongst Indigenous offenders.
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract