Should Mandatory Sentencing Be Introduced in Australia?

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Mandatory sentencing: judges are too soft on criminals. Their entire focus should be on punishment and retribution, and if they keep wasting their time with other considerations then we should introduce mandatory sentencing. To what extent do you agree and why?

The sentencing system should not be altered, for decreasing the focus and increasing the frequency of sentencing would do more harm than good. An emphasis on merely punishment and retribution in criminal sentencing would prevent the right of an offender to a fair trial. Furthermore, set and compulsory sentencing ignores personal circumstances, which in some cases could make all the difference. With these aggravating factors, hardening the system of law will not bring any advantages to society.

Narrowing the judges’ focus to only punishment and retribution would not serve the initial purpose of having a justice system at all. Certain members of the public may believe the opposite. These individuals believe that judges in our court system are too lenient on sentencing the accused. However, how knowledgeable are these individuals in the Australian justice system? In contrast to the expertise judges and Australian judicial workers have learnt through years of experience, must the public’s contradicting, non-expertise opinion determine the outcome of individuals accused of crime? Certainly, the law must take into account the values and expectations of the community. However, it is fundamental to our system of justice that there is the right of an offender to a fair trial must exist – this is protected in our current sentencing system. Under Section 5 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic), a court should consider a number of objectives to determine the appropriate sentence; punishment, deterrence, denouncement, rehabilitation and protection. Sentencing legislation also specifies matters that courts must take into account when passing sentence, such as mitigating factors and the offender’s personal...
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