Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to put forward our views on the Sentencing Advisory Council’s issues paper on the creation of a sentencing guidelines council in Victoria.

As a starting point, we affirm the long standing principles of our judicial system, including:

  • The independence of the judiciary
  • The presumption of innocence
  • The protection of the public, including victims of crime
  • The speedy resolution of issues regarding a person’s detention
  • Prison as a last resort.

As well as highlighting the need to maintain these key principles, we recommend that:

  • The new Sentencing Guidelines Council should include a representative from the Koori Court, preferably as co-Chair, as well as a legal representative with strong sector background and experience relating to vulnerable groups (e.g. children and young people, people with an acquired brain injury [ABI] or cognitive impairment, and those with alcohol, drug and/or mental health issues).
  • Council engage with a wide range of groups to ensure the views of those working alongside or on behalf of vulnerable groups is incorporated as central to the Council’s process.
  • A requirement to publish an impact or resource assessment alongside any draft or final guideline is critical (using Racial Equity Tools as an example)
  • People with an ABI form a particularly vulnerable group – and implementing recommendations from the Enabling Justice Projectwill help improve access to justice for people with an ABI in Australia.

Get your copy

Download our issue paper here