Suspended Sentences in Tasmania: An Analysis of the Impact of Recent Breach Reforms

EMILY BILL, Lorana BARTELS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the impact of recent legislative and administrative reforms for dealing with breaches of fully suspended sentences imposed in the Supreme Court of Tasmania. Our findings indicate that the recent reforms have led to a significant improvement in the rate at which breach proceedings were instituted, from 5 per cent to 55 per cent. An additional improvement is the increased speed with which breach proceedings are now instituted. However, no breach action was taken in nearly half of the cases where an offender committed an imprisonable offence in breach of their sentence. Furthermore, the recently introduced legislative presumption of activation on breach does not appear to have been effective. The failure to activate the sentence in almost half of breach actions suggests that the punitive nature of this sentencing measure remains somewhat illusory, which may contribute to negative public perceptions of leniency. This article demonstrates the measurable impact of past legislative reforms, while highlighting some areas for further improvement in relation to responses to breaches of suspended sentences, which may in turn enhance the credibility of and public support for this sentencing option.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-33
Number of pages28
JournalUniversity of Tasmania Law Review
Volume34
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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