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MEANINGFUL SENTENCING OF LOW- LEVEL, INDIGENT OFFENDERS REVISITED NJCA SENTENCING CONFERENCE 8 FEBRUARY 2014 Jelena Popovic Deputy Chief Magistrate, Victoria.

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Presentation on theme: "MEANINGFUL SENTENCING OF LOW- LEVEL, INDIGENT OFFENDERS REVISITED NJCA SENTENCING CONFERENCE 8 FEBRUARY 2014 Jelena Popovic Deputy Chief Magistrate, Victoria."— Presentation transcript:

1 MEANINGFUL SENTENCING OF LOW- LEVEL, INDIGENT OFFENDERS REVISITED NJCA SENTENCING CONFERENCE 8 FEBRUARY 2014 Jelena Popovic Deputy Chief Magistrate, Victoria

2 Presentation at the 2006 Sentencing conference: MEANINGLESS VERSUS MEANINGFUL SENTENCING: SENTENCING THE UNSENTENCEABLE Published at (2006) 15 JJA 190 Awarded Churchill Fellowship in 2011 to study this topic: MEANINGFUL SENTENCING OF LOW LEVEL, INDIGENT OFFENDERS 1_Popovic_Jelena.pdf

3 INTERACTIVE PRESENTATION : 1.WHAT DO I MEAN BY MEANINGLESS SENTENCING? 2.IS IT THE CONCERN OF A SENTENCER IF HE OR SHE KNOWS THAT THE PENALTY ABOUT TO BE IMPOSED IS NOT GOING TO BE COMPLIED WITH, OR WILL NOT SERVE TO PENALISE OR DETER THE OFFENDER? 3.WHAT LESSONS DID I LEARN? 4.WHAT HAVE I RECOMMENDED? 5.WHAT AM I DOING DIFFERENTLY NOW?

4 Many of the accused who appear before us present similarly to this: If this defendant appeared before you on a first up drive suspended, what penalty would you impose?

5 What do I mean by mean by meaningless sentencing? “….(As a judge) you need to impose a sentence that is meaningful to the accused – something that will make them take responsibility and to atone for what they have done. Sometimes you have to consider all of the circumstances of an individual – punishments have to fit the individual as well as the crime.” [][] Judge Marguerite Church, William Lake, British Columbia, Canada, 15 May, 2012.

6 WHERE DID I GO & WHY? WILLIAMS LAKE, BC, CANADA MINNEAPOLIS NEW YORK LIVERPOOL GLASGOW EDINBURGH NOTTINGHAM LONDON STOCKHOLM HELSINKI AMSTERDAM PARIS

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8 WHAT DID I LEARN? First and foremost, that the penalties imposed on this group of offenders is not limited to the penalties judicial officers impose – and that it’s not just the actual sentencing, but also the aftermath of sentencing. SO: My report ballooned into looking at the ‘whole of justice’ and making recommendations across all areas in justice

9 WHAT I LEARNT: Sentencing is a construct of the privileged classes 1.THAT VICTORIA HAS THE BROADEST RANGE OF SENTENCING OPTIONS OF ANY JURISDICTION I VISITED 2.THERE IS NOTHING ANYWHERE THAT COMES CLOSE TO CISP 3.THAT THE US EQUIVALENTS OF THE NJC HAVE A LIMITED JURISDICTION, DEALING WITH EXTREMELY LOW LEVEL OFFENCES (EG BEHAVIOURAL ISSUES, PUBLIC TRANSPORT OFFENCES, DRUNKENESS). THESE ARE DEALT WITH MUCH MORE PUNATIVELY THAN SIMILAR OFENCES ARE DEALT WITH HERE 4.THAT WE FALL WELL BEHIND THE REST OF THE WORLB WITH RESPECT TO RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

10 CULTURAL ISSUES THE CULTURAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CONTININETS, COUNTRIES, REGIONS, STATES AND CITIES IN TERMS OF JUSTICE ISSUES ARE ENORMOUS EG – EUROPE: POST-SENTENCING HEARINGS, APPOINTMENTS TO GO TO GAOL, PAY YOUR FINES, DON’T OFFEND, AND IF YOU DO, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. DON’T CRIMINALISE BAD BEHAVIOUR CONTRAST – US – WHERE EVERYTHING IS CRIMINALISED. PEOPLE IN CUSTODY FOR TRIFLING OFFENCES

11 AREAS COVERED IN REPORT: 1.AT TIME OF POLICE NOTICE 2.BEFORE SENTENCE 3.SENTENCING 4.POST SENTENCE 5.MADE SOME ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

12 SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT FINES IN VICTORIA: 1.THERE ARE NO STATISTICS AVAILABLE ABOUT THE CURRENT AMOUNT OWING ON UNPAID INFRINGEMENTS 2.AS AT 30 JUNE 2012, $231M WAS OWED WITH RESPECT TO COURT IMPOSED FINES 3. IN THE YEAR , 55% OF COURT IMPOSED FINES WERE PAID 4.IN THE YEAR , 64% OF COURT FINES WERE PAID- A DECREASE OF 9% IN ONE YEAR

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14 MORE FINE FACTS : 1. IN LONDON, 55% OF FINES ARE PAID (SIMILAR PERCENTAGE TO VICTORIA) 2. IN STOCKHOLM, 98% OF FINES ARE PAID (SIMILAR FIGURE IN ALL NORTHERN EUROPEAN AND SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES) 3. IN GLASGOW, 3% OF FINES ARE PAID 4. AS AT 8 JAN 2014, 60% OF INMATES IN CORK PRISON, IRELAND, ARE IN CUSTODY FOR NON-PAYMENT OF FINES 5. IN LONDON AS AT 2 JAN 2014, 49% OF ON THE SPOT FINES FOR SHOP THEFT ARE UNPAID

15 RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

16 RESTORATIVE JUSTICE A restorative justice philosophy promotes the restoration of justice through constructive dialogue between victims, offenders, and their communities, with a focus on healing the victim and his/her suffering, healing the offender and his/her moral character, and healing the group as a whole and the relationships within it. In practice, restorative conferencing is diverse but typically involves the meeting of the affected parties in an open dialogue, with the goal of reaching a consensus about the offense, the implications of its harm, and how to effectively restore justice and reintegrate the offender.

17 RESTORATIVE JUSTICE : IS USED EXTENSIVELY THROUGHOUT EUROPE AND SCOTLAND, AND IS STARTING TO BE USED IN THE US IT IS USED AT THREE POINTS: IT IS MAINLY USED BY POLICE FOR EXAMPLE, ‘STREET RJ’ IN SCOTLAND, AND IN HOLLAND, POLICE CONTACT MEDIATORS PRE-CHARGING. ALSO USED EXTENSIVELY IN FINLAND AND FRANCE BY PROSECUTORS ORDERED AS PART OF SENTENCE OR PRE- SENTENCE POST SENTENCE VICTIM-OFFENDER RECONCILIATION

18 HOW IS RJ USED BY JUDGES OVERSEAS? Before sentence: ‘Adjournment in contemplation of dismissal’ Essay writing, programs After sentence: Condition attached to order – in Canada, attached to Probation order Rarely is victim/offender reconciliation ordered by a judge – it is more in the nature of something that a Corrections officer organises

19 COMMUNITY WORK NEEDS TO BE PRODUCTIVE AND IMPART SKILLS NEEDS TO MAKE OFFENDERS FEEL THAT THEY ARE MAKING A CONTRIBUTION NEEDS TO BE A SUBSTANTIAL INVESTMENT IN THE WORK TOOLS TRANSPORT COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

20 Tutor Community payback Brixton Park bench

21 MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS: PROACTIVE POLICING – POLICE ENGAGING IN ‘STREET RJ’ POLICE ARRANGING MEDIATION THROUGH VOLUNTEER MEDIATORS PROVISION OF MEANINGFUL WORK UNDER CCO’S – WORK TO PROVIDE SKILLS AND MAKE PARTICIPANTS FEEL THEY ARE MAKING A CONTRIBUTION UTILISING SKILLED RETIREES FOR COMMUNITY WORK ADDITIONAL SENTENCING OPTIONS; ADJOURNMENT IN CONTEMPLATION OF DISMISSAL FULL DISMISSAL

22 Chief Judge Nunes: Newark Municipal Court: “ Under-utilised sentencing options should be revisited and examined to see if they could be employed more creatively and with better outcomes” ‘It’s about qualitative, not quantitative, outcomes”.

23 Unintended consequences of sentencing policy Suspension/disqualification of licence often leads to further offending – it is disproportionately more onerous for persons residing in the country where the distances are greater and there is a lack of public transport

24 Before Charging- Refer to community support agencies or specialist police-auspised support agencies; Diversionary programs expanded; Referral to mediation (train respected community members in mediation); Restorative justice Interventions. Referral to court support programs, such as bail support, CISP – expansion of these programs; Referral to specialised lists Restorative justice/diversion programs; Refer – Court Integrated Services Program CCOs be trained in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and motivational interviewing – role less supervisory and more case-management, CBT oriented; More volunteer mentors to improve skills of participants; Feedback mechanism to court; Community involvement in community work; Probation officers appointed from ranks of retired professionals; Meaningful work. POLICE PRE-SENTENCECOURT & SENTENCING Community Corrections After charging - refer to court based support programs such as CISP; More referral to Diversion; Greater flexibility to exercise restorative justice or diversionary programs. SPECIALISED LISTS Such as Special Circumstances Courts, Street Sex Worker Courts ADDITIONAL SENTENCING OPTIONS Admonishment, Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal; Expansion of support/diversionary programs; Dismissal without finding of guilt (if programs are completed – such as ARC dismissal); Probation for supervision of restorative justice programs (Where Community Corrections officer not warranted). Work and development orders. INDIGENT OFFENDERS – A WHOLE OF JUSTICE APPROACH

25 WHAT AM I DOING DIFFERENTLY? TAKING MORE TIME – THINKING THROUGH WHAT WILL WORK FOR INDIVIDUAL OFFENDERS TAKING MORE RISKS UTLISING ADJOURNED UNDERTAKINGS WITH MORE CONDITIONS AND FOR LONGER PERIODS DID MAGISTRATES KNOW THAT REGISTRARS DO GET COPIES OF OUR ADU’S WITH PAYMENT CONDITIONS? AND ENFORCE THEM? I PUT MORE RESPONSIBILITY ON PROSECUTORS AND DEFENCE COUNSEL TO COME UP WTH SOLUTIONS THE CHALLENGE IS TO COME UP WITH PRACTICAL SENTENCES WHICH WON’T BRING THE COURT INTO DISREPUTE -

26 TWO FINAL MATTERS: 1. WEB SITE & SAMETIME – BOUNCE IDEAS OFF EACH OTHER – GET SECOND OPINIONS, READ WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING 2. ENCOURAGE APPLICATIONS FOR FELLOWSHIPS:


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