2021: Who are the real criminals? Making the case for abolishing criminology 

Chelsea Watego

Monday 29 November 2021


While the calls for abolition grew louder in the aftermath of the renewed global Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Watego considers the complicity of criminology in state sanctioned violence in the colony. In the wake of the 30th Anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody the silence of criminology was deafening. Yet, their presence in strengthening carceral responses to youth justice reforms, assaults against first responders, and coercive control in Queensland and beyond, has one questioning who the real criminals are.  Criminology, Watego asserts is part of the prison industrial complex, intellectualising the racial violence Blackfullas are subject to, and in its refusal to see the state itself as perpetrator. If abolition is to be realised in the colony, then criminology too must die.

Chelsea Watego

Chelsea Watego (formerly Bond) is a Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman with over 20 years of experience working within Indigenous health as a health worker and researcher. Chelsea’s work has drawn attention to the role of race in the production of health inequalities. Her current ARC Discovery Grant seeks to build an Indigenist Health Humanities as a new field of research; one that is committed to the survival of Indigenous peoples locally and globally, and foregrounds Indigenous intellectual sovereignty.