The continued use of punitive sanctions to control and deter criminal behaviour rests upon a general historical misunderstanding of the effectiveness and appropriateness of this method of punishment. The current criminal justice system and the persistent sensationalist ‘get tough’ initiatives by governments, both preceding and current, have previously enjoyed widespread support within South Australia as both politicians and the media promulgate populist perceptions of crime. Citizens have previously been confident in the efficacy of our punitive criminal justice system, and there has been support for harsher penalties that are perceived to contribute to a safer society by increasingly incarcerating people who commit criminal offences. Conversely there has been a growing acknowledgement of the failures of this system to address the sociological contributors to criminal behaviour, and subsequently the development of early intervention and prevention measures.
Visit the Box File to download the Law & Justice Principles Paper, and also the Law & Justice Fact Sheet.