The Council is examining the use of sentence deferrals and adjourned undertakings in Victoria.
- A sentence deferral is a pre-sentence option. It involves a court delaying sentencing up to 12 months where the person is found guilty. This allows the person to participate in rehabilitation programs or demonstrate their rehabilitation.
- An adjourned undertaking is a low-end order. It involves a court postponing a case for up to five years with or without recording a conviction. This allows the person to participate in rehabilitation programs and demonstrate that they can be of good behaviour. An adjourned undertaking is known in other jurisdictions as a conditional release order or good behaviour bond.
Low-end orders such as adjourned undertakings, and pre-sentence options such as sentence deferrals, play a critical role in an effective justice system. They prioritise rehabilitation over punishment, particularly for first-time or low-level offenders. They reduce contact with the justice system and are often the most effective means of improving community safety.
The Council is investigating whether there may be room for increased or improved use of such orders. This may be through legislative reform, changes to courtroom practices and/or changes to the availability of support programs. This could include changes to the eligibility criteria for these orders. It could also include changes to their legislated purposes, their maximum durations, the conditions that can be attached to them and responses to breaches.
The project has five phases:
- preliminary consultation with stakeholders to identify key issues
- survey of judicial officers and criminal lawyers across Victoria
- publication of a consultation paper on key issues and options for reform, inviting written submissions
- targeted consultation with stakeholders on the key issues and options for reform, including with the general community
- publication of a final report with recommendations.
If you would like to contact the Council in relation to this project, please email us at email@example.com.