RELAUNCH OF SENTENCING ADVISORY COUNCIL A WIN FOR QLD JUSTICE

RELAUNCH OF SENTENCING ADVISORY COUNCIL A WIN FOR QLD JUSTICE

THE Queensland Law Society (QLS) has celebrated the relaunch of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC), saying its return is vital to the delivery of justice throughout the state.

The SAC was legislated back into existence in May 2016, after the Campbell government's 2012 decision to dismantle the council was overturned.

QLS President Christine Smyth says the SAC will restore greater public confidence in the legal system and will address key issues including the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the prison system.

According to Smyth, the SAC provides an opportunity to explore methods of reducing crime through a public forum for discussion and education.

"Over recent years we have seen members of the community perplexed and unhappy with some sentences imposed by judges and magistrates, and given that they are usually reported in a vacuum without much of the detail or context, this is understandable," says Smyth.

"Explaining the reasoning behind the sentences in an easy-to-understand way will increase public confidence in the judiciary."

Smyth says the council will also play a role in collecting information regarding the effectiveness of sentences.

"Queensland Law Society has a standing commitment to evidence-based policy and having the Council work out what works and what doesn't will lead to sentences which both protect the public and rehabilitate the offenders," says Smyth.

"This in turn will reduce crime with all the attendant benefits that carries. This really is a win for all concerned."

Prior to the last Queensland election, the QLS issued a state call to parties to consider and respond to several issues identified by members. The reinstatement of the SAC is consistent with appeals made through the call to parties.

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