Sydney Institute of Criminology
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New Parliamentary Report on Justice Reinvestment in NSW

The NSW Parliamentary Research Service recently published an e-brief regarding Justice Reinvestment:

"Justice reinvestment is based on the premise that imprisonment is an expensive and largely ineffective way of reducing crime. Different versions of the concept have emerged but the original idea in the United States was that funding for prisons should be reduced and redirected towards addressing the underlying causes of crime in communities with high levels of incarceration. Over the last decade, many State governments in the United States have introduced a justice reinvestment policy. The United Kingdom Government has also conducted some pilot justice reinvestment projects at the local council level.  This paper outlines the development and experience of justice reinvestment in those countries, summarises key reports and commentary in Australia, and refers to local trials in NSW, South Australia and the ACT."

The full e-brief can be found online here.

Australia's first Justice Reinvestment trial project has been operating in Bourke since 2013. Although it is a small town, it is ideal for such a program, as over $2 million is spent each year incarcerating Bourke's youth, many of whom are Indigenous. Just Reinvest NSW has worked closely with local organisations such as the Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party, as well as broader organisations such as the Australian Human Rights Commission, in order to develop plans for how diverted funds can best be used to support the community and reduce youth offending. To learn more about Just Reinvest NSW's trial program in Bourke, or to donate to the project, please visit their website.

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Upcoming Events
The Second International Conference on Non-Adversarial Justice

Date: 6-8 April 2017
Location: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW

The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration is pleased to announce the program for The Second International Conference on Non-Adversarial Justice: Integrating Theory and Practice.

Consolidating on the successful inaugural Non-Adversarial Justice: Implications for the Legal System and Society Conference, hosted by the AIJA and Monash University Faculty of Law in 2010, the second conference aims:

  • To promote discussion and consolidate knowledge about non-adversarial justice practices operating in justice systems today.
  • To promote dialogue between courts and tribunals and the social sciences in relation to non-adversarial justice practices.
  • To consider the theoretical and practical challenges facing courts utilising non-adversarial justice practices and programs including ensuring theory is reflected in the practice of non-adversarial justice and vice versa.

The full program is now available online here. Early bird registration for this event is available until the 6th of February 2017.

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Recent Publications
Restricted Premises Act: Review of police use of firearms search powers and new offence provisions

By the NSW Ombudsman

In 2016, the Ombudsman completed a review of the operation of amendments made to the Restricted Premises Act 1943. These amendments introduced new offence provisions and the power to search for firearms on declared premises without a warrant.  They were intended to strengthen police powers to disrupt the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCG) and to detect firearms.

The report found that the amendments have not enhanced police’s ability to disrupt OMCGs or detect firearms.  Police did not obtain any restricted premises declarations, conduct searches without warrant or lay charges for any of the new offences during the review period.

The report also found that police did obtain warrants under the new provisions of the Act to search seven suspected OMCG clubhouses, however those searches could have been done under the old provisions. During those seven searches, police:

  • stripped the premises, dismantling and removing everything, including things like stripper poles, sound and lighting systems, bars, stages and clothing, and
  • detained and searched the body of each person who was on the premises, in one case requiring 40 men to lie face down on the ground.

The report recommends amendments to the legislation that police clarify their powers to seize certain items and also proposes to provide police with specific powers to manage the risks associated with potentially dangerous premises searches.

The full report can be found online here.

Reclaiming the night-time economy: unwanted sexual attention in pubs and clubs

By Bianca Fileborn

This book explores young adults' experiences and understandings of sexualised violence within licensed venues. Although anecdotally common, unwanted sexual attention in pubs and clubs has been the focus of relatively little criminological analysis. This text provides the first exploration of how and why unwanted sexual attention occurs in licensed venues. Using wide-ranging research from over two hundred participants, Fileborn argues that what 'counts' as unwanted sexual attention is highly context-dependent and situated within a complex assemblage of a venue's culture, environment, and community. 

Dealing with issues such as the roles gender, sexuality, space, and social belonging play in shaping young adults' experiences, this book recounts how young people make sense of unwanted sexual attention within a culturally complex, alcohol-fuelled, and sexually-charged environment. A thorough and thought-provoking text, this book will be of particular interest to scholars of criminology, sociology, and political science.

The book can be purchased online here.

Mandatory Sentencing for Serious Sex Offences against Children
By Sentencing Advisory Council, Tasmania

The Tasmanian Sentencing Advisory Council has recently published a report on Mandatory Sentencing for Serious Sex Offences against Children, which is the result of a reference from the Tasmanian Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin.

The Attorney-General had requested the Tasmania Sentencing Advisory Council investigate the implementation of minimum mandatory sentencing for serious sexual offences against children, and examine Tasmania’s current legislative framework for sentencing sex offenders.  The Council was also asked to provide preliminary advice on the legislative means required to implement such a scheme.

Part A of the report reiterates the Council’s recommendation that mandatory sentencing not be introduced in Tasmania, and sets out some objections to the implementation of a mandatory minimum sentencing scheme.

Part B discusses the implementation of such a scheme.  The Council provides preliminary advice on:
  • Which offences should be included in the scheme;
  • The structure of such a scheme;
  • Exceptions to a mandatory minimum sentencing scheme; and
  • The levels of the mandatory minimum sentences.
A copy of the full report can be found online here.
Community Justice in Australia
By Brian Stout

The concept of community justice - of engaging with offenders within the
community - offers an important new approach to the prevention of crime and the rehabilitation of offenders. Community Justice in Australia is the first
text to consider how this concept can be successfully applied within Australia
by social workers, criminologists, parole officers, police and anyone working
with both adult and youth offenders.

The book can be purchased online here.
Family violence, alcohol consumption and the likelihood of criminal offences
By Paul Sutherland, Cleave McDonald and Melanie Millsteed

The Crime Statistics Agency recently released a research paper which explores the involvement of alcohol in family violence incidents recorded by Victoria Police.

The paper is based on an analysis of 121,251 family violence incidents recorded by Victoria Police during 2014 and 2015.  It examines:
  • the characteristics of incidents that involved recorded alcohol use by the perpetrator, the victim or both parties
  • the relationship between recorded alcohol involvement in family violence incidents and the likelihood of criminal offences being recorded as a result of the incidents.

The analysis found that 1 in 5 incidents involved definite alcohol use by either victim, perpetrator or both parties.

Overall, offences were most commonly recorded for incidents where only perpetrator alcohol use was recorded, with just under two-thirds of these incidents resulting in an offence.  An offence was least likely to arise when only the victim had used alcohol, with less than half of these incidents leading to a recorded offence.

The final model predicting whether an offence would be recorded indicated that, when other factors are taken into account, perpetrator alcohol use is not statistically related to the likelihood an offence will be recorded. Factors related to the seriousness of the incident, such as the perpetrator chocking the victim or a recent escalation in the frequency or severity of violence, were associated with large increases in the likelihood that an offence would be recorded, as was the perpetrator’s history of family violence incidents.

The research paper can be found here.
Reoffending by Children and Young People in Victoria
By the Victoria Sentencing Advisory Council

Children who are first sentenced between the ages of 10 and 12 are more likely to reoffend than those first sentenced when they are older, according to a new Council report. The report also found that there has been a 47% drop in the annual number of young offenders sentenced in the Children’s Court since 2008–09.

The report examines factors associated with reoffending for the 5,385 children and young people sentenced in the Victorian Children’s Court in the financial year 2008–09, analysing the 97,482 charges for which the study group was sentenced over an 11-year period (from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2015).

The study group had a higher six-year reoffending rate (61%) than offenders in general (40%). The younger a child was at their first sentence, the more likely they were (after their 2008–09 sentence) to reoffend (with any offence), to reoffend violently, to continue offending into the adult criminal jurisdiction, and to be imprisoned in an adult prison before their 22nd birthday.

The most common types of reoffending were road safety, theft, and violent offences.

The full report is available here.
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Job Advertisements
Youth Justice Caseworker - Queensland Government, Rockhampton

Caseworkers provide professional intervention to young offenders subject to youth justice intervention, with the aim of reducing re-offending.

Key responsibilities:

- Work effectively within a statutory environment to manage the dual roles of monitoring young offenders’ compliance with court orders and intervening to address issues that place them at risk of re-offending.

- Proactively work to reduce re-offending through the use of culturally appropriate, collaborative and evidence-based assessment and intervention skills, processes and programs including restorative justice activities.

- Work collaboratively as part of a team including a range of internal and external stakeholders.

- Prepare and present verbal and written reports to the Children’s Court on behalf of the Chief Executive, conducting pre and post court interviews, prepare quality pre-sentence reports, affidavits and other relevant documentation.

Applications close on the 13th of January 2017. For more information about this position, please follow the link.

Domestic Violence Intake & Referral Officers x2 - Redfern Legal Centre, Sydney
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