Faculty of Business and Law

Swinburne Law School

Evidence-Based Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project

This Project makes sentencing fairer and more efficient through innovative law reform.

The Project undertakes research into sentencing law and policy in order to influence government policy and judicial case-law with the aim to implement reforms that will make the criminal justice system fairer and more efficient.

The focus of the Project is to provide solutions to the following problems:

    1. The runaway incarceration rate in Australia and the United States. The Project will make reform proposals relating to the development and use of new criminal sanctions. These will incorporate technological developments into the sentencing system, including the greater use of electronic monitoring and development of surveillance technology to track the actions of offenders.
    2. The over-representation of Indigenous Australians and African Americans in prison.
    3. The over-representation of the mentally ill in prison. Nearly fifty per cent of offenders have a mental impairment. There are more mentally impaired people in prison than in hospitals for the mentally ill.
    4. The over-representation of the poor and under-educated (i.e. people who did not complete secondary school) in prison. 
    5. The need for the sentencing system to abandon the pursuit of objectives that are unattainable, such as general and specific deterrence.
    6. The need to making the sentencing system more transparent and predictable.

              The Evidence-Based Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project provides clinical education to law students, focusing on criminal appeals where there is a prospect that the accused have been wrongly convicted. It also runs test cases on important areas of sentencing law.

              In the media


              Recent publications



              Professor Mirko Bagaric: ‘Closing Prisons: Moving from Prison Walls to Technological Incarceration’

              The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professorial Lecture Series

              Date: Tuesday 23 May 2017
              4.30 – 5.30pm
              Location: SPS 136/137, Swinburne University, Hawthorn Campus