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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 92460 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Drug Offenders in Australia - The Need for Fairness and Equality
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues  Volume:13  Issue:4  Dated:(Fall 1983)  Pages:431-443
Author(s): D Chappell
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: What we can learn from the limited and deficient information available about the present sentencing practices of Australian courts in drug cases suggests that guided principally by an officially sanctioned philosophy of using 'strong, firm and severe measures' to cope with the country's drug problem, the courts in most jurisdictions seem reluctant to use imprisonment with great frequency when sentencing drug offenders.
Abstract: Despite a continuing escalation by the government of the maximum penalties available for drug related offences, any Australian judicial officers appear in practice, if not in theory, to share the scepticism of the Williams Commission about the deterrent impact of severe punishment upon the behavior of drug offenders. Although imposing fines upon the vast majority of convicted drug offenders, there is evidence, largely impressionistic, that the nature and severity of the sanctions imposed for similar drug offences varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in a manner which denies fair and equal treatment to these offenders. Documenting these disparities is extremely difficult because of the absence of national sentencing statistics. Until such statistics are made available to the courts, and until a number of other recommended measures are taken to provide sentencing guidance to Australian judicial officers, these disparities are likely to continue. (Author abstract)
Index Term(s): Australia; Drug offenders; Sentencing disparity
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