Public consultation on sentencing launched following major review

A public consultation on sentencing policy has been launched by the Department of Justice following a major review.

The public consultation paper has been developed through extensive research of approaches to sentencing, and highlights issues raised during engagement with partner organisations and other stakeholders throughout the Sentencing Review.

Permanent secretary Peter May said: “Sentencing is an important part of the public’s view of the delivery of justice and confidence in the justice system. We want to hear from the public on the important issues raised by the Review.

“Over the course of the Review we have listened to key stakeholders, victims and offenders. We have engaged with practitioners and colleagues in our neighbouring jurisdictions, and taken the views of sentencing experts.

“This is not a review about sentencing decisions. Sentencing in the individual case is, rightly, a matter for the judiciary and the courts and it is essential that their independence is maintained. However, it is our responsibility to ensure the effectiveness of the legislative framework within which individual sentencing decisions are made, and ensure that there is confidence in the process by which decisions are reached.”

The consultation process, which will run until 6 January, is seeking views on:

  • the principles and purposes of sentencing;
  • public confidence in the sentencing process;
  • the current legislative framework for sentencing for certain categories of crime;
  • the setting of tariffs for murder;
  • arrangements for unduly lenient sentences;
  • the use of community sentences; and
  • the effectiveness of current sentencing guidance.

A number of public consultation events are also planned in Derry, Enniskillen, Craigavon and Belfast over the course of November and December.

Tags: Sentencing

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