The Sentencing Advisory Council aims to enhance the community’s knowledge and understanding on matters relating to sentencing and to bridge the gap between the courts and the community.
The criminal justice system plays a vital role in keeping South Australians safe.
Reports of crime and the sentencing of offenders are frequently in the news. This generates a great deal of public interest in the issue of sentencing but it can also cause confusion. An understanding of the sentencing process is important in ensuring that the public have confidence in the criminal justice system.
In 2012, the Attorney General, the Hon. John Rau established the Sentencing Advisory Council to improve the quality and availability of information on sentencing in South Australia.
The council aims to improve the quality and availability of information on sentencing in South Australia by:
- preparing research papers, advice and reports on particular subjects in connection with sentencing at the request of the Attorney-General
- making recommendations to the Attorney-General on sentencing related matters
- publishing information relating to sentencing
- educating the public about sentencing matters
- obtaining the community’s views on sentencing matters.
The council has considered the operation of Part 8A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) and have recently released a recommendation report.
One of the pressing issues for the Government of South Australia, and indeed other jurisdictions within Australia, is the applicability and functionality of schemes relating to the fixing of non-parole periods. In South Australia, the legislation regarding mandatory non-parole periods can be found in sections 32 and 32A of the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA).
The Attorney-General was of the view that the issue of the interpretation and application of the mandatory non-parole scheme in South Australia was one which would best be considered by the Council, and in 2015 he referred the following term of reference to the Council:
To consider the operation of Part 3 Division 2 of the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 as amended by the Criminal Law (Sentencing) (Dangerous Offenders) Amendment Act 2007 which came into operation on 1 November 2007.
The Attorney-General requested the Council consider the term of reference, identify any issues or challenges associated with it and where appropriate, make recommendations. In accordance with these instructions, the Council is currently considering this reference and will provide a Recommendation Report to the Attorney-General considering the operation of the provisions.