The Law Society of Western Australia welcomes comments in the media by the Minister for Education the Hon Peter Collier MLC and the Shadow Minister for Education the Hon Sue Ellery MLC. Mr Collier and Ms Ellery are each quoted in The West Australian expressing their views that mandatory sentencing should not be extended to assaults on school principals or teachers.
Law Society President Elizabeth Needham said, “Any assault on a teacher is of course a very serious matter, however the prospect of children being imprisoned in such circumstances would be unacceptable.
“There is no convincing evidence demonstrating that mandatory sentencing laws have any deterrent effect on crime. Moreover, mandatory sentencing only serves to increase costs to the community, as more accused persons plead not guilty and take matters to trial, further burdening the judicial and prison systems.
“Mandatory sentencing also has the potential to increase recidivism, as offenders are placed in a learning environment for crime, further reinforcing a criminal identity while failing to tackle crime’s underlying causes.”
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