Report recommends changes to mandatory sentencing

Published

Work to proceed under the Aboriginal Justice Agreement.

Mandatory sentencing refers to the practice of legislating a pre-determined fixed penalty, particularly imprisonment, for the commission of a criminal offence.

Mandatory sentencing also includes mandatory minimum non-parole periods, that is, provisions requiring the setting of a particular minimum non-parole period or a non-parole period or a certain percentage of the head sentence.

A non-parole period is the period of a head sentence of imprisonment during which the offender must stay imprisoned and may not apply to the Parole Board for release on parole.

Mandatory sentencing provisions in the NT apply to:

  • violent offences
  • breaches of domestic violence orders
  • drug offences
  • aggravated property offences
  • sexual offences
  • murder.

Mandatory non-parole periods apply to murder, drug and sexual offences, and certain offences against children under the age of 16 years.

The NT Law Reform Committee conducted public consultation on the issue of whether to keep mandatory sentencing provisions.

The Committee made a number of recommendations, which are, broadly, to:

  • remove (or in the alternative reform) the various mandatory sentencing and mandatory non parole period provisions in NT legislation.
  • develop and fund community based sentencing options and programs, ensuring they are widely available across the NT so that remove offenders are not disadvantaged.
  • specifically fund programs to support victims of crime to manage their ongoing safety and wellbeing while the offender is in the community.

As part of the Aboriginal Justice Agreement, the Government will continue work to reform sentencing so that is simpler and more effective.

Read the report in full:

NT Law Reform Committee publications — Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

Prisoners walking in correctional facility

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