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Indians and Criminal Justice Administration: The Failure of the Criminal Justice System for the American Indian

The criminal justice administration has failed the American Indian. Since the usurpation of traditional tribal criminal justice management by the local, state, and federal criminal justice systems, the impacts of Indian crime have become epidemic.

The American Indian has the highest arrest rates, alcohol-related crime, violent-related crime, and conviction rates of any group in the United States. Indians are 15% less likely to receive deferred sentences, and 15% less likely to receive parole. In addition, the Indian offender has the highest recidivism rate of any ethnic group in the United State.

This paper discusses the problems of Indians in the criminal justice system at the adult and juvenile level. As recommendations it stresses the empowering of the Indian community, the greater autonomy of tribal courts, the concepts of alternative sentencing programs for Indian offenders, treatment as justice, and the idea that Indian people can take charge of this problem and do a better job in addressing their relatives.


Michael H. Guilfoyle


Vine Deloria





Arizona State Museum: 

M9791 G858i


ATT 1335686
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences