Sentencing Council

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Terms of reference


The Attorney General requested the Council to undertake its review of suspended sentences in line with the following terms of reference:

  1. An analysis of whether the use of suspended sentences has had any direct effect on the use of other sentencing options, including custodial and non-custodial options.
  2. An examination of the extent to which the imposition of suspended sentences has exposed persons to the risk of imprisonment who would not otherwise have been sentenced to imprisonment.
  3. An analysis of the primary reasons behind judicial decisions to impose suspended sentences in preference to other sentencing options, including: a) judicial attitudes to alternative sentences; b) availability of other options; and c) increased maximum penalties.
  4. The identification of current community attitudes and expectations in relation to the use of suspended sentences.
  5. An examination of whether the issues identified in relation to the above matters require reform.
  6. An exploration of any options for reform.
  7. Any other relevant matter.