In December 2022, Jesuit Social Services provided a submission to the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council’s consultation on sentence deferrals. We believe that deferring a person’s sentence, when appropriate, to give them a chance to engage in rehabilitation and restorative processes can play an important role in reducing contact with the justice system.
In this submission, Jesuit Social Services advocates for increased awareness of deferred sentencing, greater access to therapeutic supports and restorative responses during deferral periods, and flexible deferral plans. More broadly, we call for alternative sentencing options to be reinstated, and for court processes that are trauma-informed and culturally safe.
Summary of our recommendations:
- Recognise the intersection of entrenched locational disadvantage and contact with the justice system, and prioritise sentence deferrals for marginalised and overrepresented groups.
- Promote wider use of restorative responses during deferral periods and ensure timely provision of tailored wrap-around supports.
- Consider adherence to deferral plans in the context of each person’s circumstances and needs; reinstate and strengthen alternatives to imprisonment including suspended sentences and home detention; and ensure court processes are clearly communicated.