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Recent Developments in Sentencing

Cowdery, Nicholas
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Sydney NSW: New South Wales Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Downloaded 3 August 2004.

This paper examines recent developments in sentencing in New South Wales, primarily from the prosecutor’s viewpointPart A discusses the legal and social context in which criminal sentencing has been carried out in New South Wales. While sentencing has always been a demanding job, recent stringent and complex legislation has imposed greater requirements on those sentencing offenders. The background to these recent developments in legislation is reviewed, including the speech of the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales in 2003 which outlined the shortcomings of short custodial sentences. Weekly statistics published by the Department of Corrective Services are presented; they indicate that for the week ending May 9, 2004, there were 8,576 inmates in full time custody and 16,852 offenders with community-based orders. Recommendations of the New South Wales Parliamentary Select Committee on the increase in the prison population are presented, including the development of a profile of inmates serving 6 months or less. Part B of the paper considers the legislation, Prosecution Guidelines, guideline judgments, and related matters that influence the sentencing process in England and Wales. Following a review of the legislation and guidelines, the potential practical problems created by this legislation are considered and include consequences in terms of financial resources, time, inconvenience, and anguish. Part C of the paper addresses the specific matters that affect sentencing in particular circumstances, including charge negotiations, fact-finding, criminal history, proof of aggravating circumstances, special circumstances, suspended sentences, deportation, extra-curial punishment, drug court sentence appeals, circle sentencing, and other diversions within the restorative justice domain. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Referece Service,


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