Sentencing for the Protection of the Safety of the Community

Ben Livings

 

In April 2018, the Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) came into effect. As well as affording an opportunity to tidy up the existing provisions contained in the Criminal Law Sentencing Act 1988 (SA), the new Act brought a number of substantive changes to the South Australian sentencing regime, including the introduction of intensive correction orders and changes to the treatment of dangerous offenders. Alongside these substantive amendments was the introduction of a new, primary sentencing purpose: the protection of the safety of the community. The prioritisation of community safety could affect sentencing practices in a number of ways. It may, if community safety is construed as synonymous with incapacitation, serve to increase rates of incarceration and the length of prison terms. Alternatively, and more promisingly, it could serve a progressive agenda of engagement with research around the effectiveness of criminal sanctions and encourage a more progressive and evidence-based approach to sentencing and punishment.


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