The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Reservation crime goes unpunished

By Matthew McConathy/ reporter

Laws are different for crimes on native territories and different from the legal systems of the states, NE students learned Nov. 24 as part of Native American Heritage Month.

Government professor Lisa Uhlir discussed crimes that tend to occur on Native American reservations and said officials often lack technology to solve them. People who commit crimes on reservations can sometimes only get a three-year maximum sentence.

“You see a lot of people cooking methamphetamine within the reservation and not get a maximum sentence compared to the U.S. justice system,” she said.

The crime rates in reservations have increased, especially rape and sexual assault. The reservations make it difficult for investigation and prosecution because native territories are far off, take a while to be reached and lack the technology to identify subjects, Uhlir said.

“Commit a crime, and there’s no way to find their identity,” she said. “Crime rates [on reservations] are among the highest crime rates in the United States, double that of Detroit and St. Louis.”

Poverty is at 27 percent, and the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder among children is high because of violence.

One out of every five women has been sexually assaulted within the territory,” she said.

A 2010 tribal law and order act to address crime gives Native Americans more ability to use their own laws and hire more law enforcement officers for reservations. The Bureau of Indian Affairs handles domestic and sexual violence to boost safety and conviction rates. It also handles alcohol prevention, drug abuse and mental health support programs to help sustain healthy living guidelines and increase the life span.

“We need to be more aware of people’s stories and know of the Indians,” she said. “There has to be a change in the federal law for more resources to increase technology and law enforcement.”

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