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Regional drug hubs urged


Cite as: September 2015 89 (9) LIJ, p.11

The jurisdiction of Victoria’s Drug Court should be expanded, drug treatment orders (DTO) extended to drug offenders in the wider community and the use of community correction orders (CCO) broadened. These are the key recommendations of a roundtable discussion on the gap in sentencing options between imprisonment and CCOs post abolition of suspended sentences.

The 20 July roundtable, hosted by the LIV, was attended by senior representatives of the justice system.

A city drug court twice the size of the Dandenong Drug Court was suggested and while there was no need for a drug court in every region of the state, drug hubs could usefully be set up in Sunshine, Geelong, Shepparton and Latrobe Valley.

With proper collaborative supervision, high end drug offences now heard in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and the County Court could be directed to the hubs for hearing and sentencing.

Extending the use of DTOs – applied to 60 participants currently for one to two years – as a sentencing option was canvassed.

Violent and sexual offenders would continue to be excluded from the option. When finalised, the roundtable recommendations will be put to government on grounds of cost savings and other criminal law and justice system policy considerations.


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