Attitudes of Criminal Justice Students to Australian Indigenous People: Does Higher Education Influence Student Perceptions?
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Over the past 10-15 years Australian universities have established degrees for those who wish to work in the criminal justice system in areas such as policing, corrections, and crime prevention. This paper explores the sensitivity of undergraduates to issues of race and diversity. It investigates the beliefs that criminal justice students bring with them to university, their readiness for content that focuses on Aboriginality, and whether their views change in ways over time. The study finds that policing majors are more negative than other criminal justice students and that, in any case, there tends to be little change in attitudes over time for students as a whole. To explain these findings, the paper then looks at the teaching of indigenous issues in Australian criminal justice programs based on a survey of program convenors. The consensus is that pedagogy/curriculum in the area lacks thoroughness and rigour when confronting the complexities of the problem.