A report commissioned by Catholic Social Services Victoria, claims thousands of offenders will be added to Victoria's overcrowded corrections system when suspended sentences are phased out next year, reports the ABC.
The 'Perfect Storm' report, which looked at the social and financial costs associated with tougher sentencing, recommends the State Government scrap its plan to abolish suspended sentences in the Magistrates Court to 'ensure that a comprehensive range of sentencing options is available to magistrates.
'In order to allow them to balance community safety with the specific circumstances of each individual case,' the report recommends.
The strengthening of Victoria's sentencing regime is part of the State Government's 'tough on crime' agenda, but the report warns axing the sentences will not improve community safety.
County Court Judge Liz Gaynor, who spoke at the launch of the report, agrees. 'It is a matter of quite some frustration to those of us who work as judges, magistrates, as lawyers, social workers and psychologists in the criminal justice system that this particular tool...has been abandoned in such a simplistic fashion,' she said.
'Suspended sentences are extremely effective tools. They are tools that cost the community nothing and they are only ever imposed in very particular circumstances.'
FULL STORY Report calls for abolition of suspended sentence policy (ABC)