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Bugmy Justice Project

Bugmy Justice Project

The Bugmy Justice Project seeks to improve the sentencing processes and outcomes for Aboriginal people identified as defendants by providing courts with additional information that addresses the personal and community circumstances of the individual Aboriginal person and relevant sentencing options.

There is a need for improved community-based and individual background information in sentencing for justice involved First Nations people. In the decision of Bugmy v the Queen [2013] HCA 37, (2013) 249 CLR 571, the High Court considered the issue of sentencing Aboriginal Offenders. In Bugmy v the Queen, the High Court stated at [41] that if background information was to be relevant to the offender and sentencing, it was necessary to have ‘material tending to establish that background’.

At present, Aboriginal people are disempowered by Sentence Assessment Reports that provide a narrow snapshot and risk assessment of the individual. Current risk assessment tools utilised to assess an individual’s level of risk and inform Sentence Assessment Reports (SAR) have been proven as inaccurate and potentially culturally biased against Aboriginal people.

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THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT IS TO IDENTIFY THE UNIQUE SYSTEMATIC RACIAL, CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL FACTORS SPECIFIC TO ABORIGINAL PEOPLE WHO WILL BE SENTENCED BY NSW CRIMINAL COURTS. THIS COMMUNITY INFORMATION WILL PROVIDE A SET OF BACKGROUND FACTORS RELATED TO THE INDIVIDUAL ABORIGINAL PERSON FOR JUDGES AND MAGISTRATES TO CONSIDER DURING SENTENCING PROCEEDINGS.