Expert Comment On Suspended Sentences

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14th January 2010, 12:58pm - Views: 468





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Expert comment on suspended sentences –


The Victorian Opposition plans to scrap suspended sentences and home detention

if elected in November.


RMIT University Adjunct Professor Peter Norden AO says judges need flexibility

and there is a legitimate role for suspended sentences and home detention in the

judicial system.

“Criminal justice policy is not shaped well during a pre-election campaign,” Adjunct

Professor Norden said.

“Suspended sentences may perhaps be overused but abolishing them entirely

would not achieve the aim of cutting crime rates or preventing re-offending.

“There are certain offenders who may deserve jail for their crime but who can

genuinely show special needs to remain in the community, such as a single mother

undertaking a drug rehabilitation program, or someone who is willing to work in

order to pay compensation to a victim.

“It’s about ensuring flexibility in the sentencing process to get the best outcome.

“The inflated cost of an expanded prison population would be better spent on

improving educational outcomes in disadvantaged schools, which would be a more

effective crime prevention strategy.”

What impact would scrapping suspended sentences and home detention have on

Victoria’s prison system?

Are suspended sentences effective in reducing re-offending?

What kind of alternatives could be used by judges in place of suspended

sentences?

Adjunct Professor Norden has 30 years’ experience working in the justice and

prison system.

He is the convenor of the Victorian Criminal Justice Coalition and the former

Victorian prison chaplain.

Adjunct Professor Norden is available for interview on the issues related to the

Victorian Opposition’s proposal to abolish suspended sentences and home

detention.

For interviews: RMIT University’s Adjunct Professor Peter Norden, 0409 040

994.

For general media enquiries: RMIT University Communications, Gosia

Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.

14 January, 2010






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