skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 120252 Find in a Library
Title: Public Drunkenness
Corporate Author: Victorian Law Reform Cmssn
Project Director: D Neal
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: Victorian Law Reform Cmssn
Melbourne Victoria 3000, Australia
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This analysis of the law related to public drunkenness in Victoria, Australia concludes that Victoria should decriminalize public drunkenness and should use the alternative strategies that are already in use in jurisdictions that have decriminalized this offense.
Abstract: The Law Reform Commission of Victoria consulted with both public and private agencies concerned with this issue. It found that although the arrest and detention of people for public drunkenness raises special problems for Aborigines, it also raises problems for non-Aboriginal people. Victoria police records show that the three main groups arrested for public drunkenness are habitual drunks who are often also homeless, people who are drunk in crowd situations like cricket matches, and people who are drunk in and near places like hotels and discos. These arrests require a substantial amount of police resources. New South Wales and South Australia have both decriminalized public drunkenness. They permit drunk people who are unable to care for themselves to be detained. They are taken to "sobering-up" units, placed in the care of responsible people, or taken home instead of being jailed. Victoria should use a similar approach, and use the least restrictive option, detaining people until they are able to take care of themselves or no longer pose a danger to others, but only for a maximum of 8 hours. People appearing to need medical attention should be taken to a public hospital. Special sobering-up units should be established for Aborigines. Additional recommendations and appended draft legislation are included.
Main Term(s): Drunkenness
Index Term(s): Australia; Criminal justice system policy; Decriminalization; Drunk offender release; Protective custody
Note: Report No. 25
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.