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February 9, 2010

Australia province to start utilizing community-based "sentencing councils"

This interest local story from Australia, which is headliend "Community 'sentencing council' to advise on legal punishments," reports on an notable development Down Under.  Here are the details:

The Queensland Government says the community will get more of a say in how criminals are punished. Members of the public will be invited to join a sentencing council.  It will include victims of crime and experts in criminal law and juvenile and Indigenous justice.

Attorney-General Cameron Dick says it will advise the Government on criminal sentencing, and on Court of Appeal guideline judgments. "The purpose of the council is to bridge the gap between community expectations, Government and the Judiciary in relation to criminal sentencing," he said.

Mr Dick says there are differing views on whether Queensland courts are too lenient.  He says he recognises that sometimes, it may seem that sentences do not fit the crime. "I think the community has a very broad view of sentencing," he said. "Some people think sentences need to be tougher -- other people who go through the criminal justice system know how difficult and problematic that process can be."

This form of a "sentencing council" in Australia sounds a bit like American sentencing commissions, but I surmise the composition and responsibilities of the Aussie sentencing council will not be directly akin to American sentencing commission.

February 9, 2010 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

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