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Does Forum Sentencing Reduce Re-Offending?

Jones, Craig
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Crime and Justice Bulletin. No. 129. Sydney NSW: New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

Forum Sentencing, based on the concept of restorative justice, is an alternative court sentencing procedure used by the New South Wales (NSW) courts since September 2005. Known officially as the Community Conference for Young Adults Pilot Program, this process is available to adult offenders who meet certain criteria for eligibility and suitability that enables them to be dealt with at a community conference rather than through regular court sentencing procedures. The purpose of this study was to examine the success of this program and determine whether young adult offenders who participated in Forum Sentencing were less likely to re-offend than those who received traditional sentencing. The study looked at four possible outcomes on the effectiveness of Forum Sentencing: 1) reducing the likelihood of re-offending; 2) increasing the time taken to re-offend; 3) reducing the frequency of subsequent offending; and/or 4) reducing the seriousness of subsequent offending. Results of the study found no evidence that Forum Sentencing had any impact on any of the four outcomes. Limitations of the study are discussed. (abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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