Suspended sentences no longer an option

In a major change to Victoria’s sentencing system, “From 1 September 2014, Victorian courts can no longer impose suspended sentences. This sentencing option was progressively abolished in 2013 and 2014 by the Sentencing Amendment (Suspended Sentences and Other Matters) Act 2013.”  The Government argues that suspended sentences “allow offenders to walk free from court without any supervision”, and suggests that the new Community Corrections Orders should be used as an alternative. However, Sentencing Advisory Council statistics show that “as use of suspended sentences continued to decline [during the phase-out period], so did CCOs—while orders for imprisonment and fines continued to increase”. The SAC is calling for further research to determine why judges are not using CCOs in the way the Government had predicted. Some lawyers argue the removal of sentencing options leads to unjust outcomes by reducing the ability to tailor sentences to the individual case.