Mandatory Sentencing

Essay by leedixonUniversity, Master'sA-, June 2004

download word file, 8 pages 4.3

Australian Criminal Justice Assignment 2


Strictly speaking, mandatory sentencing refers to the practice of Parliament setting a fixed penalty for the commission of a criminal offence. On March 8 1997 the Northern Territory sentencing Act and the Juvenile Justice Act come under amendment. From this date any person over the age of seventeen found guilty of relevant property offences (see below) will be given a mandatory jail term of 14 days for a first offence. If the person is found guilty of a second property offence since the 8th of March 1997 their punishment will be a mandatory 90 days in incarceration. If the person is found guilty of their third property offence they will be sentenced to an immediate 12 months jail, no matter how small or large the offence.

Under the amended Juvenile Act if a child aged between 15 and 16 years of age is found guilty of a second property offence (see below) they will automatically be given a 28-day jail term.

The regime for juveniles is essentially a second strike one in which they are given one chance and then it's jail if they commit another property offence. However juveniles are given the opportunity to be referred to a diversionary program for their second strike. However to be accepted into these programs instead of being given jail the offender must meet stringent conditions and so far the scheme has showed little to no success.

Property offences, which trigger mandatory sentencing provisions, are:

Theft- regardless of the value

Criminal damage

Unlawful use of a vessel, motor car, caravan or trailer

Receiving after change of ownership

Taking reward for recovery of property obtained my means of crime

Assault with intent to steal

Robbery (armed or unarmed)

White-collar crimes such as fraud,