The Council has tabled its annual report for 2017–18.
Much of our work this financial year has focused on providing advice to government. We submitted our recommendations for the introduction of a sentencing guidelines council in Victoria, including the most suitable model for the new council and the most appropriate features of sentencing guidelines. We advised against introducing the American ‘swift, certain and fair’ model to sentencing family violence offenders. Further, we are in the process of finalising advice around reforms to restitution and compensation orders in Victoria.
An ongoing focus of our work is community correction orders (CCOs), and this year we looked at offending by people on these orders. Our report on CCO contravention considers offending patterns generally for people on CCOs. We also homed in on offenders who commit serious offences while on a CCO, fulfilling a requirement under the Corrections Act 1986 (Vic) to report annually on this type of offending.
In addition, we produced reports on a range of other sentencing topics. In a Victorian first, we examined secondary offences, which are offences that arise from non-compliance with court-ordered conditions. We examined how possession and use of small quantities of illicit drugs are sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. We also updated our findings on sentencing for theft in the Magistrates’ Court.
In preparing our advice and research, we consulted with over 60 government and non-government agencies and members of the community. It was our pleasure to host the Right Honourable Lord Justice Treacy and Professor Julian Roberts from the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, who shared their experiences about the introduction of sentencing guidelines in the United Kingdom. As the Council’s Chair and CEO note in the annual report, ‘The adoption of [sentencing] guidelines would represent a seismic shift in Victoria’s sentencing framework, but it might help stem the flow of legislative restrictions on sentencing discretion’.