This engagement has now closed - thanks for your interest and stay tuned for the next steps. You may like to read further information about past consultations at www.agd.sa.gov.au/tcj

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The Sentencing (First Principles) Bill 2016 has been drafted and we are asking for feedback from the community.

What is being decided?

When a court makes a decision on what sentence to hand down to someone who has committed a crime, the decision needs to follow the rules set out in the Criminal Law (Sentencing Act) 1988

The draft Sentencing (First Principles) Bill 2016 is re-writing those rules to put the protection of the community clearly at the front and centre of that decision-making process.

A review of the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 is being undertaken in parts and the Sentencing (First Principles) Bill 2016 (PDF, 50KB) is the first.

The proposed general principles include a new statement which makes it clear that the overriding purpose of any sentence is the protection of the community from any further offending, be it by that offender or any other person.

Other principles include that the sentence should be proportionate to the crime. However, the intention is that no other principles can detract from, or diminish in any way, the objective of protecting the community from further offending.  Other changes include that if a defendant used their ‘good character’ to help them commit an offence, this may result in the matter being considered more serious, and sentence being increased. 

These proposed new general principles are set out new in the draft bill. This is the opportunity for feedback on the proposed changes: click here to get involved.

Background – Transforming Criminal Justice

The community of South Australia expects a criminal justice system that is just and fair, people-focussed, visible and accessible and that operates efficiently and effectively. 

The criminal justice system is made up of a number of entities. Each plays a different role in a system designed to address the community’s expectation that people who break the law are punished and face appropriate consequences, and that victims of crime are treated with respect and sensitivity. 

The South Australian Government is committed to looking at the whole system when considering reform, with every part being open for review and consideration. Sentencing laws have been amended on many occasions and this will the first time the Sentencing Act has been examined in its entirety in nearly 30 years.  

How can your input influence the decision?

The Sentencing (First Principles) Bill 2016 has been drafted for the purpose of consultation, with both experts and non-experts from the community. You can provide your feedback by:

Download the General Sentencing Principles Fact Sheet (PDF, 280KB) and the News Release (PDF, 77KB) to gain a greater understanding of how the proposed changes in the Bill will affect the community.

The consultation period will remain open until Tuesday 15 March 2016. 

How will your input be used?

All comments will be taken into consideration and your input will help to shape sentencing laws in the future. Once new laws are introduced into Parliament these will be made available.

For further information about the Transforming Criminal Justice reform program: www.agd.sa.gov.au/tcj

Contact the project team:

  • email: justicereform@sa.gov.au
  • mail: Justice Sector Reform, Office of the Chief Executive, Attorney-General’s Department, GPO Box 464, Adelaide SA, 5000
  • phone: 8207 1771

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