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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 120252 Find in a Library
Title: Public Drunkenness
Corporate Author: Victorian Law Reform Cmssn
Australia
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
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=120252

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