The ACT Government will pursue a new justice reform strategy focussed on enhancing the legal framework for sentencing and restorative justice. The reforms will give the ACT a state of the art approach to dealing with criminal behaviour and reducing recidivism.
The review, confirmed on Friday by Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, will examine fundamental questions relating to sentencing, including what the purposes of sentencing should be, and the effectiveness of difference approaches to sentencing.
“The review will also look at the merits of introducing possible new sentencing options, such as intensive corrections orders, used in other jurisdictions. These would replace periodic detention, which the Minister for Corrections has already announced is to be repealed, given its high cost and limited effectiveness,” Mr Corbell said.
“The review will also draw on international research on best practice restorative justice approaches, an area where the ACT already has a pioneering record.
“Restorative justice brings an offender face to face with their victims in an appropriate setting, and can lead to better outcomes than court based approaches alone.”
Work on the strategy will encompass the commissioning of targeted academic research in support of the development of evidence based proposals. It will also involve close consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including the judiciary, police, legal practitioners, human rights and victims’ advocates, academic experts and the broader community.
Work will be overseen by a panel at Director-General/head of office level to be chaired by the Director-General of the Justice and Community Safety Directorate. To progress this work, the directorate is preparing terms of reference for this panel and strategy.
The government will be providing a total of $734,000 over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 financial years for this reform project
This will include $250,000 over those two years to fund academic research and evaluation.
“This work will allow the government to consider what actions we can take to achieve significant long-term improvements in sentencing outcomes, reduce the incidence of recidivism and incarceration, and improve community confidence and safety in the ACT,” Mr Corbell said.
“The review of sentencing forms part of a broader justice reform strategy that includes justice reinvestment initiatives.
“Justice reinvestment involves the rebalancing of criminal justice expenditure from custody to community based initiatives that tackle the causes of crime, rather than the results of crime, and is a key mechanism for addressing reoffending and making the justice system more effective and efficient.”