Policy Decision-making models in practice: A case study of the Western Australian "Sentencing Acts"
O'Sullivan, D. and Down, B. (2001) Policy Decision-making models in practice: A case study of the Western Australian "Sentencing Acts". Policy Studies Journal, 29 (1). pp. 56-70.
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While there is an extensive body of literature on a range of policy decision-making models, there is a lack of supporting case studies about the lived experiences of policymakers and the usefulness of various decision-making models in practice. This article examines two traditional models of decision-making, namely crisis theory and the rational comprehensive model, to assess their strengths and limitations in explaining the introduction of the controversial Western Australian Crime (Serious and Repeat Offenders) Sentencing Act 1992 and the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1992 (the “Sentencing Acts”). We argue that the “Sentencing Acts” cannot easily be reduced to, or explained through, a single policy analysis model, as significant aspects of policy remain hidden. Finally, we contend that to understand the emergence of the Sentencing Acts requires an approach that can account for the interconnection between structural, agenda-setting, and decision-making levels of analysis.
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