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Calculating the baseline offence median

18 Sep 2014

Executive summary: This report has been prepared to assist the courts and those working in the criminal justice system to understand the operation of baseline medians as set out in the Sentencing Amendment (Baseline Sentences) Act 2014 (Vic) (‘the Act’) and some of the implications for current sentencing practices.

The Act provides that the baseline sentence represents ‘the sentence that Parliament intends to be the median sentence for sentences imposed for that offence’.Courts must sentence
baseline offences in a manner that is compatible with this intention.

The Act proposes some counting rules that differ from the method the Council has used to calculate current sentencing trends to date. The Act presents its own definition of the ‘median sentence’. Most importantly, this definition (which, to distinguish, we have labelled the ‘baseline median’) includes non-custodial as well as custodial sentences.

This report shows that, when using the counting rules prescribed under the Act, current median sentences for the six baseline offences fall below the baseline sentences prescribed
under the Act.


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