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: 120727 Find in a Library
Title: Public Drunkenness
Corporate Author: Victorian Law Reform Cmssn
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Victorian Law Reform Cmssn
Melbourne Victoria 3000, Australia
Publication Number: ISBN 7241 6735 8
Sale Source: Victorian Law Reform Cmssn
Level 10
10-16 Queen Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000,
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This report examines Aboriginal public drunkenness law in Victoria (Australia), the extent of the problem, and recommends decriminalization similar to that adopted by other Australian jurisdictions.
Abstract: The Interim Report of the Muirhead Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody concluded that the disproportionately high police arrest and detention rate of Aborigines is a critical factor in their high incidence of policy custody death. It recommends that decriminalization be accompanied by adequate programs for the care and treatment of intoxicated persons, and that police utilize alternatives to custody such as taking the intoxicated person home or to a treatment facility. According to current law, public drunkenness is punishable by $100, and public drunkenness and disorder is punishable by $100 or three days' imprisonment. A second or subsequent offense is punishable by $500 or one month imprisonment. The drunkenness arrest rate per 1,000 in Victoria was 5.21 in 1982, 4.79 in 1983, 4.49 in 1984, 4.47 in 1984/85, 5.25 in 1985/86, and 5.35 in 1986/87. Arrests commonly occur in crowd situations such as cricket matches, at hotels and discos, and with habitual drunks who often are also homeless. While drunks are encouraged to take public transportation, their effect on travellers on trains is a special issue. A Draft Bill for a Public Intoxication Act 1989 makes specific proposals for decriminalization. 1 table, 2 appendixes.
Main Term(s): Drunkenness
Index Term(s): Aborigines; Australia; Decriminalization; Disorderly conduct; Drunk offenders
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.