LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Parliament has last night passed amendments to the Sentencing Act 1995 and the Youth Justice Act 2005 to establish a legislative framework for a community courts sentencing procedure.
The Sentencing Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 paves the way for Community Courts across the NT and delivers on a key commitment under the Aboriginal Justice Agreement, which aims to:
- Reduce offending and imprisonment of Aboriginal Territorians;
- Engage and support Aboriginal leadership; and
- Improve justice responses and services for Aboriginal Territorians.
Community Courts will help address and reduce the high rates of imprisonment and recidivism in the Territory by engaging and supporting Aboriginal community leadership and cultural authority, through the active participation of Law and Justice Groups in the criminal justice sentencing process.
Budget 2023 provides for the operation of Community Courts and Law and Justice Groups, with six sites to be supported over the next two years.
Community Courts support local community involvement and Aboriginal leadership by holding offenders accountable for their behaviour and helping them to understand the impacts of their behaviour.
They are part of our plan to improve justice outcomes and services for Aboriginal Territorians and support our Local Decision Making strategy.
The legislative changes we have made further our Government’s commitment to delivering better justice outcomes for Aboriginal Territorians, and creating safer, stronger communities.
Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Chansey Paech.
PHOTO at top: Mr Paech in October 2019 in Alice Springs.