OPA made a submission to the Victorian Parliament’s Legal and Social Issues Committee in response to its Inquiry into Victoria’s Criminal Justice System. The terms of reference to which OPA responded were requests for:
- an analysis of factors influencing Victoria’s growing remand and prison populations;
- strategies to reduce rates of criminal recidivism; and
- an examination of how to ensure that judges and magistrates have appropriate knowledge and expertise when sentencing and dealing with offenders, including an understanding of recidivism and the causes of crime.
The submission makes 28 recommendations informed by human rights principles. Recommendations cover a wide range of matters including:
- improved data collection
- the interface between state-run justice services and the NDIS
- that courts must have regard to a respondent’s ability to understand the conditions of an IVO when deciding whether to make the order
- reform to bail laws
- police disability liaison officers
- the accessibility of diversion,
- prison disciplinary hearings
- OPA’s Independent Third Person and Corrections Independent Support Officer programs.
OPA sought to highlight the experiences of Victorians with cognitive disability and mental illness in the criminal justice system.
The Legal and Social Issues Committee must deliver its report to Parliament by 28 February 2022.