Suspended Jail Sentences Are No Longer A Thing In Victoria

Let this be a lesson to all you would-be trouble makers out there. From today forward, if you fuck up in Victoria, you’re going to jail. No ifs. Not buts. No coconuts. Jail: Straight to it.

Today marks the day that further rollback legislation on Suspended Sentences comes into effect, meaning that for crimes committed after today, the option of a suspended sentence is no longer available to Victorian Magistrates. Previous rollback legislation had seen the option removed from Victorian Judges in the Supreme Court as well as the County Courts.
The move marks the fulfilment of a Victorian Coalition Government promise to make jail sentences equate to actual jail time, and will make Victoria the first state to completely remove suspended sentences – along with putting the state well on the way to becoming the living embodiment of a System of a Down song. Victorian Attorney General Robert Clark explains thusly:
The Coalition government has delivered on its commitment to fully and completely abolish suspended sentences and restore truth to sentencing. If a magistrate does not believe an offender should go to prison, the law will in future require that to be done openly instead of the law pretending an offender is going to prison.
The removal of suspended sentences paves the way for Community Correction Orders to take their place, which can impose curfews, restrict movements, and require up to 600 hours of community service on convicted offenders.
But the problem is that its happened elsewhere with less than ideal results. A similar repeal of suspended sentencing in New Zealand has resulted in a 23% increase in imposed jail terms. A similar spike for Victoria would push an already stretched prison system beyond its limitations, according to Julie Edwards, chief executive of Jesuit Social Services, who stated:

The removal of suspended sentences as an option for less dangerous crimes will not deliver safer communities.

The bottom line though, is that from today onwards you best be on your toes for everything, or else it’s right to jail. Much like our friends in the great nation of Venezuala.

Viva Chávez.
Photo: Thomas Samson via Getty Images.