Rethinking community sanctions in the C21st

Prof. Julie Stubbs1, Prof Chris Cunneen2, Prof Eileen Baldry1, Ms Melanie  Schwartz1, Prof David Brown1
1UNSW Sydney, Kensington , Australia, 2University of Technology Sydney , Sydney , Australia

Accounts of community sanctions continue to be influenced by the decarceration/net-widening debates prominent in the 1980s, and by a false dichotomy between prison and liberty.  However, within the 21st century penal landscape, the forms and uses of community sanctions appear to challenge conventional temporal, spatial and political boundaries. For instance, preventive and risk-based logics applied across the criminal justice system unsettle ideas about the timing, duration and legitimacy of forms of control, eroding constraints on pre-trial and post-release interventions. New orders combine prison-based and community- based control in distinctive ways.  Shifts in funding models and competitive tendering arrangements reshape the relationships with, and blur the boundaries between, government and non-government sectors.  This paper draws on preliminary findings from a study of community sanctions in Australia, taking these developments into account to rethink the place of community sanctions in contemporary Australia.


Julie Stubbs is a Professor and co-Director of the Centre for Crime, Law & Justice at UNSW Law School.  She is currently undertaking ARC funded research on community sanctions in Australia (with Baldry, Brown, Cunneen & Schwartz). Her recent publications include Justice reinvestment: Winding back imprisonment (Brown et al 2016) and Australian Violence (Stubbs & Tomsen 2016).

Chris Cunneen is a Professor at Jumbunna Institute  for Indigenous Education & Research. He has a national and international reputation as a leading criminologist specialising in Indigenous people and the law, juvenile justice, restorative justice, justice reinvestment, policing, penology and prison issues, and human rights. His recent books include Indigenous Criminology (Cunneen,  & Tauri 2016) and Justice reinvestment: Winding back imprisonment (Brown et al 2016).

Gambling on freedom: temporary and gradual prison release in Ukraine

Dr Anton Symkovych2
1Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 2University Of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Південно-Африканська Республіка

Most prisoners are eventually released. Many jurisdictions systematise some form of temporary release as preparation for this by facilitating, among other things, family and work-force reintegration. Temporary release can also signal the state’s alleged compassion and humanity. I will explain how Ukraine squares these noble goals with an inherent mistrust of prisoners. Furthermore, I will discuss how in their anticipation of freedom prisoners weigh the perceived risks and benefits of gradual release versus the more ‘predictable’ parole. Parole in their view entails ‘lesser’ obligations and visibility. Through examination of how some prisoners assess their personal vulnerability to risky behaviour and opt out from gradual release, I argue that prisoners, as well as the state, often deem themselves untrustworthy subjects.


Anton Symkovych is a EURAIS fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University and a research associate, Sociology Department, University of Johannesburg.

‘Blurring the lines’: the voluntary and community sector and service delivery for women offenders

Kate Burns1
1Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Over the last two decades, there has been increased involvement of the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in the provision of services and partnership arrangements in the criminal justice system. There are numerous examples of previously state-owned services being taken over by the VCS and private sector, such as privatised prisons, electronic tagging and community corrections.  Using a case study from the justice reinvestment pilot in Greater Manchester (UK) this paper explores the tension between Women’s Centres delivering services to women ‘at need’ while also being contracted by the government to reduce offending rates of women offenders. The ‘whole system’ approach to reducing female offending in Greater Manchester was promoted as being about reducing financial cost to the state. Women were a specific focus of the pilot not only because of the perceived immense cost on the state if children go into care when their mother is imprisoned, but also because the pilot could draw on the services of already extant VCS-run Women’s Centres to address the needs of women offenders. While the use of Women’s Centres to offending behaviour formed part of the justice reinvestment pilot in the UK, the use of VCS in the provision of services has wider implications for the criminal justice systems in the UK and Australia.

Dr Kate Burns is a Scholarly Teaching Fellow at Monash University. Kate has wide public-sector experience and prior to taking up her academic position at Monash, worked in various public policy positions in the United Kingdom with a focus on the criminal justice system. Kate’s research interests include criminal justice policy, penal systems, incarceration and justice reinvestment.

Innocent until proven guilty: really?

R Sarre1, K Gelb2, L Bartels3, C Spiranovic4, S Dodd5
1University Of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, 2University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 3University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia, 4University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, 5University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Dr Karen Gelb is a Consultant Criminologist and a Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Department of Criminology. Her areas of expertise include courts, family violence, sentencing, public opinion, sex offenders and, most recently, bail and remand. Karen spent eight years with the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council, is the editor of a book on sentencing councils and sentencing policy, and is the author of almost 40 major research reports, consultancy reports and articles.

In January 2017, six people were killed and at least 30 injured when Dimitrious Gargasoulas drove his car into pedestrians on Melbourne’s Bourke Street mall in an apparently deliberate attack. In the aftermath of the incident, community shock turned to outrage when it was revealed that Gargasoulas had been released by a Victorian Bail Justice just days before, after being arrested for offences including family violence and stealing a car. Within days, the Victorian Government announced changes to the state’s bail system, as well as a major review of Victoria’s bail laws, to be undertaken by the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Justice Paul Coghlan, currently a judge in the Victorian Court of Appeal. Following the Coghlan review, Victoria’s bail laws are arguably the most onerous in Australia. This paper presents a discussion of recent reforms to bail laws around Australia. It argues that amendments to bail law legislation across the country reflect shifting views on the purposes of bail and the principles underlying the bail system.

Dr Rick Sarre is Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice in the School of Law, University of South Australia. He is the immediate past President of ANZSOC, a position he held for four years, and was the Chair of Academic Board of the University of South Australia for six years.


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