In May 2014, the ACT Attorney-General, Simon Corbell MLA, announced that the government would review sentencing purposes and options in the ACT as part of a justice reform strategy focused on enhancing the legal framework for sentencing and restorative justice which ‘would give the ACT a state of the art approach to dealing with criminal behaviour and reducing recidivism’. The strategy will involve close consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including the judiciary, police, legal practitioners, human rights and victims’ advocates, academic experts and the broader community. The government has already commissioned research on international models of intensive supervision orders to inform the replacement of periodic detention.
As a first step towards phasing out periodic detention, the ACT government introduced the Crimes (Sentencing) Amendment Bill 2014 to the Legislative Assembly on
30 October 2014. The Bill provides that:
- a sentencing court may no longer order that a person sentenced to imprisonment serve their sentence by way of both full-time detention and periodic detention; and
- a sentencing court may not order a person to serve a sentence of imprisonment by way of periodic detention beyond 30 June 2016.
LORANA BARTELS teaches law at the University of Canberra.