Bill to improve public safety passes first reading

  • Anne Tolley

A Bill aimed at improving public safety by strengthening the law around community sentences has passed its first reading in Parliament, says Corrections Minister Anne Tolley.

“The Administration of Community Sentences and Orders Bill will close a number of loopholes in the current legislation,” says Mrs Tolley.

“It will ensure that offenders on community-based sentences and home detention complete their full sentences,” says Mrs Tolley.

“As an example, the current legislation states that a home detention sentence is suspended when an offender lodges an appeal against their sentence.

“If passed, this Bill will see the home detention sentence continue to run, unless the appellant is granted bail. This recognises that some home detainees who appeal may pose a risk to public safety if released into the community without restrictions.

“Another area where the law will be strengthened is around offenders who abscond from community-based sentences and who are not located until the sentence has ended.

“These offenders will be held to account, as time running while the offender is not complying will not count towards their sentence.

“The Bill will also give the court discretion to allow a home detention sentence to resume after a short sentence of imprisonment.

“Under current law, even a sentence of, say, two weeks imprisonment automatically cancels a home detention sentence. Yet in some circumstances, the completion of the home detention sentence may be in the interests of the community.”

The Bill also contains a number of other amendments that will help improve public safety and improves administrative efficiency. The Bill has now been referred to the Law and Order Select Committee.