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Sentencing Assessment Report

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What is a Sentencing Assessment Report

A Sentencing Assessment Report (SAR) is a report ordered by a Magistrate after a plea of guilty or a finding of guilt. The report canvasses a number of things, including suitability for penalties and punishments which are alternatives to full time imprisonment.

An SAR is prepared by an independent officer from Community Corrections. The report writer will interview you and ask you questions about your personal circumstances and the circumstances of the offence.

There are two common kinds of SARs. One is a Duty SAR and the other is a full SAR. A full SAR means that your matter will be adjourned for 6-8 weeks and you will have to make contact with Community Corrections, usually within 7 days of the order.

A duty SAR is prepared by a Community Corrections Officer on the day of court in a matter of hours and is provided to the Magistrate and your lawyer immediately.

Cooperating with Community Corrections is extremely important, as is being honest and open with them regarding the offence, your insight and remorse and your personal circumstances.

What do they consider in preparing the report?

  • Prior criminal history;
  • Prior engagement with community corrections, and whether or not it was successfully completed;
  • The facts sheet;
  • An interview with you; and
  • Any interviews conducted with psychologists, family, employers, sponsors etc.

What will be included in the report?

  • A summary of your interview and circumstances;
  • The risk level of re-offending;
  • A summary of your offending behaviour;
  • Anything that impacts on your ability to address your behaviour (i.e drug or alcohol addiction);
  • If supervision would assist with managing those difficulties;
  • Your suitability for community service work; and
  • Anything else the court may have asked for.

What if my matter is in the Children’s Court?

Similarly to adults, when a plea of guilty is entered or there is a finding of guilt the Children’s Court can order a Background Report be completed in relation to the Young Person. The Children’s Court cannot sentence a young person to a period of imprisonment/control order without a Juvenile Justice Background Report (JJBR).

These Reports are prepared by an independent officer from Juvenile Justice. They interview the young person, their family and other service providers (such as FaCS and psychologists etc).

JJBRs make recommendations with regard to appropriate penalties on sentence and so it is crucial to be open, honest and contrite with the report writer. JJBRs are often more comprehensive than the Sentencing Assessment Reports for adults. One reason for this is the differences in purposes and principles of sentencing.