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Report cover

A fine mess

A report into the most significant entrance point into the Victorian justice system and recommendations on reform
Procedural justice Access to justice Fines (Penalties) Victoria
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A fine mess 888.74 KB

The fines system is the most likely way that a Victorian will have contact with the justice system with more than 4.3 million fines issued in 2018-19. Fines play a vital role in providing an incentive to discourage behaviour that negatively affects our community’s safety and wellbeing. 

The benefits of this system also result in challenges: fines are concentrated by postcode and some people are amassing thousands of dollars in fines and penalties that will be unable to be paid leading to an increased engagement with the criminal justice system. This is having a detrimental effect on the individual and the broader community and has a long-lasting effect especially on vulnerable people. An initial toll road fee can be as low as $2 which can turn into $382.82 in penalties. 

Accessible pathways, practical reforms, and alternatives to deeper engagement with the criminal justice system are discussed in this paper which has been submitted to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Criminal Justice System. 

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