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Native American Incarceration: A Neglected Problem?

Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective

ISBN: 978-1-78350-910-2, eISBN: 978-1-78350-907-2

Publication date: 10 October 2014



In this chapter, the author outlines the historical, legal, and jurisdiction regarding incarceration rates of Native Americans. It examines reports and data in areas where problems of racial disparity continue to endure. As the smallest minority population in the United States, it raises questions as to the disparity of Native Americans. Native Americans are unique in their relationship with the federal government, and should be critically examined to distinguish what makes their involvement in the criminal justice system inimical.


The author examines the law enforcement, courts, and corrections data, through various reports; concerning causes of Native American criminality, incarceration rates, health disparities, jurisdictional schemes, human rights, and race. It is argued that federal governmental laws and various bureaucracies exacerbate conditions through overreaching policies which invalidates many of the positive aspects Native People bring to themselves.


Native Americans are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. As the smallest segment of the population, they have a higher incarceration rate per capita. It is without question that chronic underfunding of law enforcement, courts, and corrections in reservation communities continues. In light of Congressional claiming to want to alleviate problems in Indian country, little impact has been realized.


Native American societies are often considered a silent minority. Information pertaining to the many social issues enveloping Native communities often falls on deaf ears and political party leaders who are more interested in a larger constituency fail to lend their assistance in a manner deemed appropriate to truly grasp the larger problems.



Janisch, R.F. (2014), "Native American Incarceration: A Neglected Problem?", Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 159-177.



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