Source: (2003) Sydney, Australia: Judicial Cmssn of New South Wales. Downloaded 9 March 2004.

Part 1 presents the background and concept of circle sentencing. The process involves community members and offenders coming together to discuss the offense, the offender, and the consequences of the offense. The goal is to jointly arrive at an appropriate sentence for the offender. This justice process enjoyed success in Canada, spurring officials in New South Wales to adapt the process for use with Australian Aboriginal communities. A pilot circle sentencing initiative was undertaken at Nowra beginning in February 2002. The pilot program had 13 offender participants: 11 male and 2 female offenders. Part 2 reviews the circle sentencing procedures used in Nowra. Eight case examples of circle sentencing proceedings are presented throughout part 2 in order to demonstrate its practice. The case studies describe the circumstances of the offense, the proceedings, the sentence, and the progress reports at follow-up. Part 3 presents program evaluation results for the first 12 months of the programxe2x80x99s operation. Participants in circle sentencing were surveyed throughout 2002. Surveys were completed by community members, defense solicitors, police, prosecutors, the magistrate, defendants, and victims. The evaluation indicates that circle sentencing in Nowra has been effective in many ways. This type of justice model has been effective at reducing barriers between the courts and Aboriginal people; raising the level of support for Aboriginal people; incorporating victim support; empowering the Aboriginal community; offering relevant sentencing options with community support; and reducing recidivism. Part 4 assesses the role of circle sentencing in New South Wales given the success of the first circle sentencing pilot program. Given the positive results of the program, the only deficit discovered was the time commitment required to process an offender through circle sentencing. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.


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