Sentencing Matters podcast

This podcast series informs, engages and advises on sentencing issues in Queensland, nationally and internationally.

Episode 7 — Preventing pathways to the youth justice system

Following up on our youth justice sentencing seminar What happened with Jake? we talk to Cheryl Leavy, Deputy Commissioner, Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC).

Cheryl talks about how protecting children is everybody’s responsibility — and everybody’s business.

She speaks about the importance of picking up on warning signs and intervening early, which can have a huge impact on the life trajectory of a young person who is struggling. Early steps can prevent a young person getting involved in the youth justice system for minor offending, which all too often leads to contact with the adult criminal justice system.

Cheryl also discusses the QFCC’s work to improve responses to children in residential care, particularly reducing police call-outs which can lead to them being charged and ending up in court.

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Visit the Queensland Family and Child Commission website

Episode 6 — Keeping kids safe online

In this episode, we talk to Sonya Ryan, founder of the Carly Ryan Foundation. In 2007, Sonya’s 15-year-old daughter Carly was killed at the hands of a child sex offender, 47-year-old Garry Newman, who she met online, despite her best efforts to keep the teen safe on the internet.

Through Carly’s story, the podcast gives insight into those who misrepresent their age to engage with and exploit young people on the internet.

Sonya outlines the work of the Carly Ryan Foundation to keep young people safe from online groomers and prevent them engaging in sexting and image based abuse — which are in fact child exploitation material offences.

Sonya also talks about Carly’s Law, which makes it a crime to plan to harm a child under 16 (especially those who misrepresent their age online) punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. She also speaks about how the vulnerability of a child should be taken into account during the sentencing process.

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Visit the Carly Ryan Foundation website

Episode 5 — Evaluating the Gold Coast’s Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Court trial

Dr Christine BondDr Christine Bond, Griffith University Deputy Head of School at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, provides a snapshot of the evaluation into the specialist domestic and family violence court at Southport on the Gold Coast.

This court was the first of its kind in Queensland, offering dedicated magistrates, police prosecutors, defence lawyers and support officers for both the aggrieved and perpetrators, with expertise in domestic and family violence issues.

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Episode 4—Re-thinking imprisonment: the role of evidence in penal reform

Professor Todd ClearThis episode introduces extensive research conducted in the United States by Professor Todd Clear of Rutgers University, which involves detailed analysis of US incarceration rates over a 30-year period.

Todd discusses his experiences in how best to influence public and political debate about incarceration. He acknowledges the emotive nature of this topic but reasserts his firm belief that evidence can — and has — informed the prison debate by presenting statistics, individual stories and addressing preconceived ideas about offenders and community safety.

He also highlights the implications of prison for the children of prisoners and talks about the problem of intergenerational cycles of violence, substance misuse and imprisonment.

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Episode 3—The role of sentencing advisory councils in policy debate and development

Professor Arie FriebergVictorian and Tasmanian Sentencing Advisory Council chair Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg discusses how councils are bridging the gap between the community, the courts and governments.

He argues it's the independence of sentencing advisory councils which distinguishes them from government departments, the courts and any other law body.

This enables councils to have wide ranging functions including providing balanced, credible research-based advice to government.

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Episode 2—Evidence-based sentencing

Judge Peggy HoraFormer California Supreme Court Judge, The Honourable Peggy Fulton Hora explores the topic of being smart on crime with evidence-based sentencing focusing on drug courts.

She argues what doesn’t work - except for the amount of time they’re actually in custody - is incarceration. She says putting someone in prison keeps them isolated for that small amount of time, and then unless they’re given a life sentence they’re getting out and coming back to our communities, and usually not for the better.

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Episode 1—What is sentencing?

Rebecca WallisIn this episode, Griffith Criminology Institute researcher Rebecca Wallis discusses the principles and purposes of sentencing in Queensland. She explains that sentencing is a complex process—one that follows the law as set out in the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.

And she suggests that probably the first thing to know about sentencing in Queensland—is that it's actually quite difficult to understand everything you need to understand about the sentencing process!

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