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Liberals Snub Sentencing Advisory Council on Suspended Sentences


Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Tags: Suspended Sentences, Sentencing Advisory Council, Justice, Recidivism

That the House:—

(1)           Notes the release of the Sentencing Advisory Council final report into the Hodgman Liberals’ policy to abolish suspended sentences.

(2)           Acknowledges that the Government’s terms of reference prevented the Sentencing Advisory Council from examining the question of whether suspended sentences should be abolished.

(3)           Understands that suspended sentences are a proven and cost effective option, with evidence universally demonstrating that suspended sentences deter re-offending and do so without significant expense to the taxpayer.

(4)           Further notes that despite the Government justifying the abolishment of suspended sentences on the basis that “Tasmania’s heavy reliance on suspended sentences continues to diminish community confidence in the sentencing process”, only four of the 25 submissions received by the Sentencing Advisory Council during the consultation process were from ordinary members of the Tasmanian community.

(5)           Recognises that the new alternative orders proposed by the Sentencing Advisory Council, including Community Correction Orders, home detention and treatment orders will provide the judiciary with valuable sentencing options, but these should not come at the expense of a proven option like suspended sentences.

(6)           Further acknowledges the Sentencing Advisory Council’s warning that the changes proposed in their final report will have considerable resource implications given that an unconditional suspended sentence is currently resource neutral.

(7)           Further understands that the Premier, Hon. Will Hodgman MP was informed during question time in Parliament on the Liberal’s position that the full abolition of suspended sentences would cost Tasmanians around $10 million extra per annum.

(8)           Further notes that it was pointed out to the Premier, that John Walker modelling relied upon, puts the potential costs between $15 million and $50.9 million, while the final Sentencing Advisory Council report places the cost at $30.6 million per annum if all their recommendations are implemented, with that cost climbing to $50.9 million if they are not.

(9)           Further acknowledges that despite this huge inconsistency being brought to the Premier’s attention, he saw fit to state: “We said quite clearly - and I can confirm again to the member - that $10 million per annum is what is required and would apply at the end of the transition period.”

(10)         Calls on:—

(a)           the Premier to explain what he knows that the Sentencing Advisory Council does not;

 

(b)           the Liberal Government to provide details on how it is going to meet its commitment to the Tasmanian public that abolishing suspended sentences will not cost more than $10 million per annum, given that expert advice puts the cost so much higher; and

(c)           the Government to acknowledge that they misled the community when they took the policy to the election on the basis that it would be cost-neutral and continue to mislead the community today in stating it will cost Tasmanians no more than $10 million per annum.