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N.S.W. Summary Offences Act, 1988

NCJ Number
R Bonney
Date Published
32 pages
This study examines the impact of the New South Wales Summary Offences Act of 1988 (Australia), legislation designed to consolidate and reform summary offenses against public order.
An important aspect of the legislation is the reintroduction of jail sentences for offensive conduct, offensive language, and prostitution. Issues examined in this study of the act's impacts are changes in types of charges laid, the locations and contexts in which incidents occurred, number of arrests per incident, and type of behavior associated with incidents. Also examined were the number of people detained under the act and the extent to which the courts have used the relevant jail provisions and under what circumstances. The incident and arrest information used to study these issues was obtained from samples of police incident reports and police incident and arrest reports. There was a 293 percent increase in the number of reported incidents of offensive behavior in the 6 months following the act's implementation, compared with the 6 months 2 years earlier. Most of the charged incidents involved offensive language. Four people were given jail sentences under the provisions of the act. The sentences ranged from 7 days to 28 days. 12 tables, 3 figures.


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