The Victorian Opposition's plans for fixed minimum jail terms are a "retrograde step" towards mandatory sentencing, according to a coalition of legal and community groups.
Smart Justice has rejected the opposition's plans, announced today (23 November), to establish minimum sentence standards, claiming they will not deter crime or protect the community.
"Fixed minimum jail terms are a retrograde step towards mandatory sentencing in Victoria. They make it harder for courts to ensure that the punishment fits the crime and do nothing to reduce crime rates." said Smart Justice spokesperson Hugh de Kretser.
"The court is best placed to decide the right penalty for an offence, taking into account the unique circumstances of each case. The Coalition policy is a step towards politicians imposing sentences, not courts."
Kretser noted that despite the Opposition's claims, research shows there is little evidence that harsher penalties deter crime and that sending more offenders to jail can actually increase crime rates.
"If the Coalition was serious about protecting the community, it would focus on an issue like child neglect, which has been shown to be one of the major causes of crime," he said. "Instead, its policies will divert hundreds of millions of dollars away from addressing child neglect, reducing homelessness and treating mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse into more prisons and more police."