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This subject is about the ways in which the criminal justice system responds to crime. It examines the principles that judges and magistrates must consider when sentencing offenders and the role of judicial discretion in the sentencing process. The subject includes an examination of some of the more recent approaches to dealing with offenders that are available in Australia, such as the restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudential practices used in problem-solving courts and alternative dispute resolution. The effectiveness of different sentencing options is considered, with a special focus on imprisonment and parole. Finally, the subject examines the research on public perceptions of sentencing, and considers the role of the public in sentencing policy and practice. At the end of this subject students should have a clear understanding of the principles and purposes of sentencing, an appreciation of the research literature on the effectiveness of different sentencing options and approaches, and a healthy skepticism of media representations of ‘lenient’ sentencing decisions.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should have:
- an understanding of the principles and purposes of sentencing;
- an understanding of the research evidence on the effectiveness of different sentencing options and approaches;
- an appreciation of the complexities of criminal justice responses to offending behaviour;
- an ability to examine media reports of sentencing outcomes with a critical eye; and
- an ability to apply knowledge of the research evidence to contemporary criminal justice policy debate.
On completion of this subject students should:
- have highly developed cognitive, analytic and problem-solving skills;
- have an advanced understanding of complex concepts and the ability to express them lucidly in writing and orally;
- have an ability to plan work and to use time effectively;
- have sophisticated awareness of cultural, ethnic and gender diversities and their implications.
Last updated: 3 November 2022