The interaction of different people with the country’s criminal justice systems varies significantly, and one of the common factors is that it varies according to ethnicity. Indigenous people tend to have more encounters than the others; and this encounter is always resulting into mixed outcomes. In extreme cases, death is the ultimate destiny for some of the prisoners. For Lloyd Boney, his death in custody became the subject of many inquiries seeking to investigate the many aspects surrounding his arrest, imprisonment, and subsequent death.
This paper seeks to evaluate the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) report about Lloyd Boney’s death. Being a native, his death in custody served to add weight to the existing belief that indigenous people usually had a rather abstract encounter with the country’s criminal justice system (THE RCIADIC NATIONAL REPORT, 1991). The main aim of the paper is to review five factors that are deemed to have been responsible for Lloyd Boney’s ending up ion custody. Description of Life and Circumstances (Biographical Details) of Lloyd Boney
Lloyd Boney’s birth took place in Walgett (THE RCIADIC NATIONAL REPORT, 1991). From his childhood, Lloyd Boney, also called James, seemed to be born with misfortune. A short time after his birth which is only approximated to have been in December 1958 (the Native Aboriginals hardly ever keep records of their birth and most of the births take place at home), his parents parted ways. So Lloyd Boney and his twin sister had to remain under the care of their father when their mother left. But being a seasonal worker, their father could hardly raise the family as required and soon the care of Lloyd Boney and his sister passed on to their aunt.
They thus grew up under foster parents although this is generally acceptable in the aboriginal culture. Therefore, his aunt, who had about other fifteen children to care for together with her husband, had to treat Lloyd Boney and his sister as her own children (THE RCIADIC NATIONAL REPORT, 1991). In fact Lloyd Boney referred to her aunt and husband as his parents in accordance with aboriginal cultural requirements. His schooling is not well documented but it is believed that he joined school aged five and studied until around 1974 when he was forced to leave school (THE RCIADIC NATIONAL REPORT, 1991).
Throughout this time at school, however, he seemed to have not really learnt a lot because by the time he went into prison he could not read and write well and had to solicit the assistance of others to do this. In 1973, just one year before he left his schooling in the first year of high school, Lloyd Boney faced his first charge of breaking into a house, getting into it and stealing some assets. He was convicted of the offense even though he was represented by an attorney from the Aboriginal Legal Service (THE RCIADIC NATIONAL REPORT, 1991). However, he was released on probation and required to continue schooling and to be well behaved.
Lloyd Boney was later to have a record of crime various crimes committed; becoming a common antagonist with the police. In his early adulthood, he was diagnosed with epilepsy, a condition which saw him in and out of hospital very frequently. From this early upbringing, it is clear that a number of factors stand out that must have made Lloyd Boney to find crime unavoidable even as young as fifteen when it is believed he first came into contact with the criminal justice system (THE RCIADIC NATIONAL REPORT, 1991). RCIADIC Explanations for Lloyd Boney’s Pathway to Crime or Conflict with the Law
The RCIADIC report is rather not very clear as to what especially led the young Lloyd to engage in crime from that early age. However, there are many reasons detailed in the findings of the report. As earlier mentioned, his life in crime was more the result of the poor care he received from the guardians. His uncle being away to work most of the time and his adopted mother being burdened with the care of many other children, Lloyd Boney was rather without the care and supervision he would have needed to grow up as a responsible child and avoid crime.
Another issue that is cited as having been responsible for his life in crime was his relationship with one Grace Wilson which faired on sumptuously. The relationship moved from nasty to sour to bitter-sweet and to sweet but it was never a real satisfying one for both parties. Although they managed to live together for a long time, actually until Lloyd died in prison, it was a relationship which contributed to his crime life. This is because he was abusive and constantly found himself on the wrong side of the law for the crime.
Grace helped him to indulge in excessive drinking, a factor that played a key role in most of the offences he was convicted of throughout his life. Actually, alcohol consumption is listed separately as having led him into criminal life. He was thought to be a good person until he started drinking and virtually all the offences he was arrested and charged with were committed when he was under the influence of alcohol (Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, 1991).
Identification and Analysis of Five Major Factors that Explain Lloyd Boney’s Pathway to Crime or Conflict with the Law From the onset, it is apparent that Lloyd Boney was a victim of his circumstances as opposed to a person who was ready and willfully inclined to engage in crime. Instead, most of his troubles seem to start at the point when his parents separate and is left under the care of foster parents (Daly). The first factor responsible for his venturing into crime eventually, therefore, is his separation from his parents.
Although this happened in a different way so to speak, it was a separation all the same. For a long time, many aboriginal children have been forcibly taken away their parents and adopted by foster parents who might be close relations of the first family or who are totally different. With different aims, these separations expose the children to a totally different kind of upbringing which in turn exposes the child to a moral deficiency. For Lloyd Boney, nothing is wrong for as long as he is staying with his parents.
And although he was too young to do anything suggestive of crime, it is an undeniable fact that aboriginal parents are the only people who have the most in-depth understanding of the best ways to bring up their children. Try as they may, foster parents – whether aboriginal or non-aboriginal – cannot bring up aboriginal children to be well behaved and responsible for their actions as their own parents can. So although Lloyd Boney is living under the care of his aunt and her husband, he cannot really receive as much attention as he would have received if he was with his own parents (Ross, H. et al. , 1999).
Most of the literature is full of cases of aboriginal children being separated from their parents forcibly for purposes of having them changing their way of life. They are adopted by totally different people or are placed in non-aboriginal child welfare societies where they are brought up is segregation and isolation from their parents and communities, their native way of life and their culture. The colonial powers instigated this practice but it is still applicable in certain instances. This has been a major cause of the rather high rates of aboriginal young people who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The second factor that led Lloyd Boney to a criminal life was the general nature in which aboriginals are treated by law enforcers in contrast to non-aboriginals (Ross, H. et al. , 1999). Having been brought up witnessing the obviously favoritism that was displayed by law enforcement agencies, Lloyd Boney had no qualms that whatever he did he would be seen to be on the wrong anyway. He grew up knowing and witnessing the injustices meted on those of his own ethnicity and might have subconsciously made up his mind to rebel against anything that the non-aboriginals stood for.
Theory proves it that when one is opposed to a certain personality, one moves to oppose and reject all that that personality or institution stands for. So Lloyd Boney must have become opposed to the entire law of the land because it was oppressive. So he hated the law and wanted to do all that was contrary the law not because he wished but he saw it as a way to pay back for there wrongs committed by the law and its enforcers against his own people. He also rejected school because he knew formal education was not an aboriginal thing but that of whites.
The literature brings the issue of discrimination based on race into context by citing different cases that depict it. In not a few of the cases, even the law enforcers themselves admit that they are rather discriminative (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2007). They have been conditioned to believe that only black aboriginal people can do what is right. A case is cited of a group of white and aboriginal young schoolboys who are found to be drunk in the streets yet the police arrest only the aboriginal boys and leave the whites.
Questioned about their actions, they claim that the white children are not aware of there being a law prohibiting getting drunk for the young. This illustrates high levels of discrimination in the legal system. The third factor that prompted Lloyd Boney become a person opposed to the law is racism. Racial discrimination is rife in this country. Every aboriginal or non- white is treated very differently by the other races not for any other reason but just because the color of one’s skin is different – black.
Black is almost associated with evil and white with good. Racism has infiltrated the legal system, worsening the already frosty relationship that the aboriginal youth have with the law enforcers (Ross, H. et al. , 1999). Apart from the incident cited earlier of police picking black offenders from a mixed group of students and leaving behind the whites, many other incidents of racially motivated arrests have been reported. This has moved on to prisons where the treatment of inmates is racially motivated.
This alone has made native aboriginals to dislike the police force in this country and rather than viewing them as good people doing a good job view them as enemies out to finish them. They, therefore, keep rebelling against the law (HREOC, 1997). For Lloyd Boney, this factor made him to go in and out of jail many times. He was almost always aware that the police would look for faults in him just for his being an aborigine. If this had not been the case, it is likely that he would have changed his behavior when he was first convicted of breaking in and stealing.
But because it became apparent that police were watching him alone he resented the idea of ever reforming. To him, it was no use being good to the police officers when they had already labeled him and his people as bad and as a criminal. Whenever anything wrong happened it was the aborigines who were asked to explain first what they knew. The fourth factor is alcoholism (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2003). It has been established that alcohol serves as a great contributor to criminal tendencies mainly because once one is under the influence of alcohol one is unable to make sound decisions ad judgments.
For Lloyd Boney, his drinking habit kept him in a trap where he virtually could not avoid crime. All offences committed by him were committed when he was und rte influence or when he wanted to get drunk (Daly). His being addicted to alcohol literally led him to commit crime, starting from domestic violence and moving on to others like driving under the influence, violating the terms of his probation, and resisting arrest. In the literature, it is found that alcohol consumption is a common practice among aboriginal communities and this could partly explain why most of them engage in crime.
Finally, Lloyd Boney’s pathway to crime can be explained by social and economic factors. The natives of this country are people who are grossly deprived of even the most basic of needs there ever can be. This is in spite of the ability to lead very simple lifestyles and to survive on very little (Atkinson, 19I4). This depravity is sometimes very severe that people are compelled to commit crimes to get something to sustain themselves. Lloyd Boney constantly stole because he did not have a job so he could work and earn. Yet he had needs to meet daily.
Earlier in life, he had a family which was so deprived that he had to look for was to survive. Growing up in a family of more than seventeen people al depending on one person is not an easy thing. For him, if he had the social support he required and if the resources were sufficient he most likely would not have ventured into crime (Ross, H. et al. , 1999). Reflection on Analysis Lloyd Boney is a person whose criminal life is largely the result of the conditions where he grew up as opposed of what might been in his own making (Report of the Inquiry into the Death of LLOYD JAMES BONE, 1998).
This is because he is not recorded as having had any really bad habits until he was in school where he committed his first offence. What made him to go into crime are f actors that are surprisingly covered in available literature. He is a person who understands that the police in his country are racist, that the legal system itself is skewed to favor non-aboriginals, and that regardless of what has to do one is likely to find oneself on the wrong side of the law as long as one is aboriginal.
From the literature, factors listed as making aboriginals to be the more likely people to find themselves on the wrong side of the law include the social and economic situation they finds themselves in, the nature of the country’s criminal justice system which is not at al fair, the cultural settings under which aboriginal children grow, and the separation of aboriginal children from their parents so they can be forced to change their characters and culture.
The others are alcohol consumption which is a practice rife among aboriginal communities, peer pressure that young aboriginals experience, and the country’s racial tendencies which favor whites against aboriginals. In this entire issue of Lloyd Boney, these factors interplay from his birth to the time of his death in prison. What is evident is that he went in prison for no real seriously crime. If he had been economically capable, he probably would not have ended up in prison as indicated by the mild nature of his charges.
On this basis, it is critical that such issues are considered together with the recommendations made to by the RCIADIC commission so that not only the deaths of aboriginals while in prison are reduced but their rate of committing crime is also lowered. Word count: 2,566 References Atkinson, J. (19I4). “A nation is not conquered. ” Domestic violence and incest resource center Australian Human Rights Commission (2007). Bringing them home Community Guide. Australian Human Rights Commission
Australian Human Rights Commission (2003). Social Justice Report 2003. Australian Human Rights Commission Australia, Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, Report of the Inquiry into the Death of LLOYD JAMES BONEY (1998) Daly, K. Government policies of protection-segregation and assimilation and their impact on Indigenous people.
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) (1997). Bringing them Home – Community Guide. Sydney, NSW: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Memmott, P. et al. (2001). Violence in Indigenous Communities, “Causes of violence THE RCIADIC NATIONAL REPORT (1991). “The Reasons for Offending. ” Ross, H. et al. (1999). ‘Risk and Resilience: Crime and Violence Prevention in Aboriginal Communities. ’ THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY, VOLUME 32 NUMBER 2 1999 PP. 182-196 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991) National Report, Vol. 2. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government Publishing Service.