Overrepresentation of Young Indigenous Offenders: Differences in Criminogenic Risk/Needs and Implications for Practice

Miss Kristie Dellar1, Associate Professor Lynne Roberts1, Dr Jonathan Bullen1, Dr Kristy Downe1, Dr Robert Kane1

1Curtin University, Bentley, Australia

Indigenous youth are overrepresented in the Australian criminal justice system, yet little is known about how they differ from non-Indigenous youth in terms of criminogenic risk and need profiles in relation to reoffending. This paper expands on findings of our previous study (Dellar et al., 2020) and present the results of two analyses. The first is a comparative analysis of the differences in criminogenic risk and need factors in a sample of 4653 youth. Results raise questions about how Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth differ on type of criminogenic needs and how risk/needs are defined in an Indigenous context. The second analysis examines the predictive validity of a shortened version of the YLS/CMI in a subsample of 921 youth. Results show that a specific combination of five items for Indigenous youth corresponds to an improvement in AUC scores from c. = .65 for the full version to c. = .73. For non-Indigenous youth, the selected set of five items corresponds to an improvement in AUC scores from c. = .66 for the full version of the YLS/CMI to c. = .73. Implications of these findings for research, policy, and reducing Indigenous overrepresentation are discussed.


Kristie Dellar is currently a PhD Candidate at Curtin University in Perth and working as a Senior Programs officer with Youth Justice Psychological Services. Research interests include juvenile risk assessment and intervention, with a focus on reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in the Australian criminal justice system.

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