Reoffending following sentencing in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

Australia Victoria

This report examines whether sentencing influences subsequent reoffending.


An important aspect of the Sentencing Advisory Council’s work is examining the effects of sentencing on an offender’s subsequent behaviour. This is one element of the more general question of whether, and to what extent, sentencing can achieve its various purposes. Information about the effects of sentencing should inform decision-making in relation to sentencing policy and practice.

In order to provide this information, the Council has developed a database to examine the nature and extent of reoffending following sentencing in Victoria.

This report uses statistical techniques to estimate the effect of each of a number of variables on the likelihood of reoffending. The variables include the type of sentence imposed for the initial offence as well as factors such as the offender’s age, gender and criminal history. These techniques enable an examination of whether sentencing has an effect on reoffending in Victoria and if it does:

  • how the effect of sentencing compares with the effects of other factors; and
  • the extent to which this varies according to the type of sentence imposed.
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