Circle sentencing was first developed in Canada in 1992 for the sentencing of Indigenous offenders in a community setting, with aims including empowering and healing communities, providing more meaningful sentencing options, supporting offender rehabilitation, and supporting victims. In response to the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Australian courts, the process has now been trialled in a Local Court in Nowra, in regional New South Wales. This report presents an evaluation of the first 12 months of the trial, introduced in 2002. It describes the nature of circle sentencing, how it operates in practice, and its impact on cases. The report also discusses participant satisfaction, shared justice and decision-making, effects on victims, the role of community elders, and eligible offences for circle sentencing.

Publication Details


Publication place:
Sydney, NSW