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    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Standard minimum jail terms part of sentencing reform

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Standard minimum jail terms part of sentencing reform

    The Bligh Government will take its tough stance on violent crime to a new level, introducing standard non-parole periods to ensure jail time fits the crime.

    Premier Anna Bligh said it was imperative that offenders who committed violent or sexual crimes spent appropriate periods in detention – and enabling the justice system to impose standard non-parole periods would achieve that.

    “This is about how much time is actually spent in prison once an offender is convicted,” Ms Bligh said.

    “Currently, the law only provides for a maximum sentence and what standard non-parole periods will deliver is a guide for the courts as to how much time a prisoner should spend behind bars.

    “In other words, when a judge sentences an offender to prison time, they will be able to set a definitive non-parole period – and that time will have to be served.

    “Standard non-parole periods have been credited with making sentences tougher, more consistent and more reflective of community standards in NSW where it has operated for seven years.

    “Our new sentencing advisory council will now examine what the appropriate length of non-parole periods for violent or sexual offences should be and provide that advice back to government.”

    Attorney-General Cameron Dick said the council would examine the appropriate time for serious crimes such as murder, other criminal offences involving violence, rape and sexual assault including sexual offences committed against children.

    “Such schemes have promoted consistency and transparency in sentencing decisions,” Mr Dick said.

    “The sentencing advisory council will be tasked with this review as soon as it is established and will be expected to report back to the government in early 2011.

    “In the meantime, the Sentencing Advisory Council Bill will be debated in Parliament this week.”

    Mr Dick said the move was part of the Bligh Government’s ongoing push to strengthen the state’s sentencing regime.

    Recent improvements have included:

    • Introducing legislation to establish a sentencing advisory council, which gives the community a greater say in the state’s sentencing regime
    • the introduction of amendments to the Penalties and Sentences Act to ensure paedophiles convicted of sexual offences against children under 16 years must serve an actual term of imprisonment
    • the introduction of amendments to the Penalties and Sentences Act to ensure violent offenders and repeat offenders spend more time in jail
    • expanding the range of offences for which indefinite jail sentences can be imposed by Queensland courts
    • setting a minimum supervision period of five years for prisoners who are declared dangerous sex offenders
    • allowing the government to apply for an extra period of supervision once an existing order against a dangerous sex offender expires.

    New legislation regarding non-parole periods is expected to be introduced into Parliament next year.

    Media contact: 3224 4500