Six Big Changes to Sentencing from January 2012
16 January 2012
The biggest changes to Victorian sentencing for many years are now underway, as major reforms commence in January 2012.
At a glance:
- Opportunity for deferred sentencing extended
- New community correction order created
- Community-based order abolished
- Home detention abolished
- Intensive correction order abolished
- Combined custody and treatment order abolished
The Magistrates’ Court and County Court may now defer sentencing for up to 12 months for offenders of any age. Previously this option was only available in the Magistrates’ Court for up to six months and for offenders aged 18 to 25.
Deferral of sentencing gives an offender the opportunity to participate in programs designed to address the causes of their offending behaviour. The court can then consider such efforts at rehabilitation when sentencing.
Intermediate Orders Abolished
Four intermediate sentencing orders (sitting between fines and imprisonment on the hierarchy of severity) have been abolished. Courts may no longer sentence offenders to a:
- combined custody and treatment order
- home detention
- intensive correction order
- community-based order.
From January 2012, the abolished intermediate orders are replaced with the community correction order (CCO). While a CCO is served in the community, it can also include up to three months' imprisonment.
Courts can select from a flexible range of conditions to impose on the offender as part of a CCO. These conditions may include things such as undertaking rehabilitation or unpaid community work, or restrictions on the offender’s whereabouts. Breaching a condition of a CCO is an additional offence.
The reforms to intermediate sentencing orders apply from 16 January 2012, regardless of when the offence was committed.
More To Come
Other aspects of these community correction reforms, such as an expanded range of driving license penalties, are likely to commence later in 2012.