New Sentencing Trends Data Released

1 February 2018

The Council has updated its statistics on broad sentencing trends. The statistics include trends for Victorian courts, the prison population and young offenders. Our interactive graphs allow users to explore sentencing trends in detail, including selecting specific sentencing outcomes and data periods.

Key Sentencing Trends

In the 2016–17 financial year:

  • the number of cases sentenced in the higher courts fell 22% to a 10-year low of 1,721 cases
  • the number of cases sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court (96,293 cases) decreased for the first time since 2010-11
  • the number of cases sentenced in the Children’s Court increased to 4,191 cases (including youth diversion). This is up by 8.8% from 2015-16.

During the same period:

  • the proportion of cases receiving imprisonment increased in both the higher courts and the Magistrates’ Court (in the higher courts, 74% of cases received imprisonment, up from 65% in 2015-16, and in the Magistrates’ Court 8.1% of cases received imprisonment, up from 6.9% in 2015-16)
  • the percentage of community correction orders sentenced in the higher courts decreased for the first time after a steady 10-year rise
  • the most frequently used sentence in the Magistrates’ Court was a fine (55% of cases), followed by an adjourned undertaking (14% of cases)
  • the most frequently used disposition in the Children’s Court was youth diversion (29% of cases), followed by a good behaviour bond (23% of cases).

Imprisonment Trends

As at 30 June 2017, Victoria’s prison population was 7,149 people, the highest number ever recorded in the state:

  • Victoria’s imprisonment rate stood at 145.4 prisoners per 100,000 adults, the second lowest rate of all states and territories after the Australian Capital Territory
  • the imprisonment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners in Victoria was the highest in a decade. It reached 1,834 prisoners per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.

You can find this and other data listed on our sentencing trends page.