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CJB115

Author Jacqueline Fitzgerald
Published May 2008
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 115
Subject Aboriginal / Indigenous Australians; Recidivism / Re-offending; Evaluation reports
Keywords circle sentencing, reoffending, Aboriginal offenders

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Summary

Aim

This bulletin considers whether people who participate in circle sentencing (1) show a reduction in the frequency of their offending, (2) take longer to reoffend and/or (3) reduce the seriousness of their offending.

Abstract

Circle sentencing is an alternative method of sentencing Aboriginal offenders which involves the offender’s community in the sentencing process. This bulletin considers whether people who participate in circle sentencing:

(1) show a reduction in the frequency of their offending,
(2) take longer to reoffend and/or
(3) reduce the seriousness of their offending.

The results suggest that circle sentencing has no effect on any of these outcomes. Circle sentencing participants offended less in the 15 months following their circle. However, the same was also true of Aboriginal people sentenced in a traditional court setting (the control group). After a range of offender and offence characteristics were controlled for, we found no difference between the circle sentencing group and the control group in time to reoffend. Finally, there was no difference between the circle sentencing group and the control group in the percentage of offenders whose next offence was less serious than the reference offence.

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