The method by which a sentencing court understands the reasons for the commission of a criminal offence is crucial to the framing of the ultimate disposition imposed in all of the circumstances of the offence and the offender. Under Australian criminal law the insights of criminology are rarely. if ever. used in the discharge of the sentencing function. In particular, theories of crime causation evident in schools of criminological thought are not relied upon even though ostensibly such theories would appear to have a degree of relevance to the sentencing task. In this article, a short sketch of contemporary criminological theory is provided. This is followed by a survey of the use of criminological theory under Australian criminal law and what role, if any, it plays in contemporary criminal justice administration. Finally, consideration is given as to whether or not criminological theory would be of assistance in the discharge of the sentencing task in relation to not only understanding the reasons for the commission of the offence by the offender, but also in the determination of the appropriate sanction.
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