Mandatory Sentencing in Western Australia & the Impact on Aboriginal Youth


This review of the impact of Western Australia’s three strikes mandatory sentencing laws for repeat home burglars finds that the laws are fundamentally flawed. Based on an analysis of cases dealt with in the Children’s Court under the laws, the report finds that they have done nothing to reduce the high level of home burglaries in Western Australia, they have failed to reduce recidivism rates, and they are profoundly discriminatory in their impact, especially on Aboriginal youth. Research indicates that 81% of the juveniles dealt with under the laws are Aboriginal, and there is clear evidence that Aboriginal youth are less likely to access diversionary options and more likely to be processed through the courts than non Aboriginal youth. In view of their manifest faults, Western Australia’s mandatory sentencing laws should be repealed.