Editorial: Indian justice system never worked
"The Navajo Nation covers 27,000 square miles and has a population of 250,000, or one-quarter of a million people.

Yet, its criminal justice system is woefully inadequate. For example, there are only about 100 beds in various jails combined.

The Navajo have many good people, but it is hard to imagine anyone would believe that if justice is being served, 100 jail beds are enough.

Far from it, because other numbers are equally troublesome, including a reported 225 gangs in Navajo territory.

These disturbing statistics represent just one American Indian tribe out of many that are dealing with a poor criminal justice system often complicated by tribal sovereignty issues and ignored by federal government oversight.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently launched a series of work sessions as part of the Tribal Nations Listening Conference, which included two days of meetings this week in Albuquerque.

They are the first such meetings held in American Indian territory since 1994, a time gap more than just an embarrassing disgrace.

Tribal leadership and federal leadership should feel shame for the lack of attention given to crime on American Indian reservations. The current system never has worked and never will work until serious attention is given to the issue and people realize the need for a new measure of justice."

Get the Story:
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