Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council

The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council provides independent research and advice, seeks public views and promotes community understanding of sentencing matters.


Why are young people sentenced differently to adults?

The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council has expanded its flagship education platform Judge for Yourself with a new interactive case study exploring the complexities of the Childrens Court.

Judge for Yourself allows users to play the role of a judge or magistrate and learn about the challenges of sentencing offenders in our courts.

The new Childrens Court case study is based on a real-life teenager who has pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm.

Neuro-science tells us that young brains do not finish developing until young people are well past their teens. What then is the best option for our teenager, balancing the need to keep communities safe?

Hear the court case. Decide the sentence. Judge for Yourself.


Has our approach to drugs gone to pot?

Registrations are now open for our latest Sentencing Seminar Has our approach to drugs gone to pot?

Join us as we take a look at the first six months of Queensland’s Drug and Alcohol Court, which deals with adult offenders with severe drug and alcohol dependency.

We will also hear how current research shows the reliance on threshold quantities for drugs may be problematic and might lead to sentencing outcomes that are disproportionate to the offence committed.

  • Magistrate Annette Hennessy, Queensland Drug and Alcohol Court
  • Associate Professor Melissa Bull, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University
  • Professor Elena Marchetti, Deputy Chair, Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council

Date: 3 October 2018

Venue: Queensland Law Society Auditorium, Level 2, 179 Ann Street, Brisbane.

Time: 4:30pm to 6.00pm (registration from 4.00pm)

Cost: Free

Register now


New spotlights released: Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts

Two new Sentencing Spotlights on…offence and sentencing trends have been released, providing statistical information about offences and penalty outcomes for sentencing events involving adult offenders finalised in Queensland courts over the period 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2017.

The Sentencing Spotlights show Queensland courts sentenced more than 750,000 offenders in the 12-year reporting period.

Reflecting their role dealing with more serious offences, higher courts were more likely to use custodial penalties (76.8% of sentences) compared to Magistrates Courts (15.1%). Across both higher and Magistrates Courts, within the custodial penalty options, imprisonment was ordered most often with intensive correction orders used by sentencing judges least often.

While the use of custodial penalties in Magistrates Courts was steady from 2005–06 to 2009–10, it has since almost doubled from 10 per cent of all penalties in 2010–11, to 19 per cent in 2016–17.

View the Sentencing Spotlights on offence and sentencing trends


Queensland’s first sentencing guide released

The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council has released the first Queensland Sentencing Guide — helping to demystify the sentencing process.

The guide is a free resource that explains how Queensland courts sentence adults found guilty of an offence. It covers:

  • how sentencing laws are made and the role and jurisdiction of different criminal courts in Queensland
  • the sentencing process and what guides judges and magistrates in deciding what sentence to impose
  • different penalty options.

The guide also includes a glossary to help simplify language commonly used in the sentencing process.

Download the guide [PDF 547KB]