The key recommendation in this report is the establishment of an independent statutory Sentencing Advisory Council. The Institute’s research highlights the need for accessible information about crime and sentencing in Tasmania and, in particular, accessible sentencing statistics for Magistrates Courts. This would be among the functions of a Sentencing Advisory Council, which would conduct research on sentencing issues, consult with government bodies, stakeholders and members of the public on sentencing matters, and advise the Attorney-General on sentencing.
The Report also considers the need to address the public dissatisfaction with sentencing. The Institute recommends that priority be given to public opinion research as a means making the criminal justice system properly responsive to the public. The Sentencing Advisory Council would also be responsible for gauging public opinion on sentencing matters and co-ordinating strategies to educate the public on crime and sentencing issues.
Other recommendations designed to improve the sentencing system, including: (1) direct resources to evidence-based rehabilitative programmes for prisoners in the areas of cognitive behavioural therapy, sex offender treatment and drug treatment programmes to improve the potential for rehabilitation during custody; (2) obtain information about recidivism rates, program rates and completion and breach rates in relation to conditional orders, such as suspended sentences and community service orders; (3) review procedures for breach of conditional orders; (4) a feasibility study of day fines; (5) research the value of victim impact statements in Tasmania; (6) a community conferencing pilot for young adults; and (7) review the administrative procedures for compensation orders.