Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin appears determined to lumber Tasmania with a more costly, less flexible legal system.
Shadow Attorney-General Lara Giddings says the suggestion that scrapping suspended sentences would be cost neutral is plain wrong.
“If you do away with suspended sentences, it’s inevitable our prisons will become more crowded, just as they are right now in Victoria,” Ms Giddings said.
“Non-custodial alternatives to suspended sentences, like home detention, are good but ultimately expensive.
“Ms Goodwin is taking away the discretionary powers of the courts on the basis of some people’s perception and not fact.
“Now the Liberals are delaying the changes by effectively two years from the election, leaving very little time to implement the policy in this term of government.
“While the damage could be done in this term, it is the next government, which could be a Labor Government, that would have to pick up the pieces as the real costs hit the budget bottom line.
“The Attorney-General has admitted her Terms of Reference to the Sentencing Advisory Council is limited to only providing advice on other alternative sentencing options. She is not seeking any advice on the merits of keeping suspended sentences which are effective in preventing people re-offending.
“Instead it is likely more offenders will be sent to what’s often called the “University of Crime”, prison, as is occurring in Victoria.
“The arrogance of Ms Goodwin and the Liberal Government is extraordinary in ignoring good evidence based research that supports suspended sentences in favour of the politically more popular misconception of the benefits of abolishing them.”