Embargoed until 00:01 a.m. (AEST) Tuesday 16 August 2022
The Sentencing Advisory Council has published a new consultation paper seeking stakeholder and community views on possible changes to ‘adjourned undertakings’ (often referred to as good behaviour orders).
Adjourned undertakings have been available in Victoria since 1985. They are the second most common sentencing order in Victoria, with only fines being more common. In 2019, there were over 17,000 people who received an adjourned undertaking. But despite the prevalence and long history of the order in Victoria, this consultation paper is the first detailed examination about how those orders are used. Who receives them? For what crimes? And what conditions are usually attached?
The aim of the Council’s consultation paper is twofold: first, to present Victoria-first insights into adjourned undertakings based on court data; and second, to pose 23 questions about possible reforms to adjourned undertakings and related orders. Some of the options under consideration include simplifying the Sentencing Act, introducing a new combined order of imprisonment plus an adjourned undertaking, and improving access to services for people sentenced to an adjourned undertaking.
Following the release of the consultation paper, submissions will be open for six weeks, closing on Tuesday 27 September 2022. The Council will then review the submissions, develop draft recommendations, test the recommendations at a series of roundtables, and then submit a final report with recommendations to the Attorney-General in early 2023.
Quotes attributable to Council Chair Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg AM
‘This is the first time the Council has turned its attention to what are sometimes called ‘low-end orders’, sentences at the lower end of Victoria’s sentencing hierarchy. They are, however, a critical feature of a fair and effective justice system – especially for vulnerable, first-time and less serious offenders. If we can improve the use of these orders, we can potentially prevent more serious offending later, have fewer people ending up in prison, save the community millions of dollars, and make Victoria safer.’
‘Starting today, the Council is inviting submissions in response to the questions raised in the consultation paper, not just from the legal profession but from the broader community.’
Reforming Adjourned Undertakings in Victoria: Consultation Paper will be available on the Council’s website on the morning of Tuesday 16 August 2022.
Submissions can be sent to email@example.com.