Home Detention Legislation - Major Step Forward Says East

  • Paul East

Legislation enabling a secure and cost effective alternative to prison was introduced into Parliament today by the Minister of Corrections, Paul East.

The intention of the Criminal Justice Amendment Bill (No. 3) is to expand the number of offenders eligible for home detention as an alternative to prison. It will do this by:

a) Enabling courts to order offenders, sentenced to two years or less in prison, to serve their sentence by way of home detention;

b) Allowing Probation Officers to apply to the courts for an order that an offender, who is serving a prison sentence of two years or less, be released from prison to serve the remainder of their sentence on home detention; and

c) Providing for offenders serving sentences of two years or more, excluding serious violent offenders, to be released to home detention by the Parole Board or District Prisons Boards three months prior to their parole eligibility date.

"This legislation fulfils the Coalition Agreement's commitment to greater use of electronic detention as an alternative to prison. Overseas experience has shown that electronic home detention, as proposed in the Bill, is an effective option for dealing with certain types of low-risk offenders.

"The Government believes that home detention has the potential to effectively integrate offenders back into their families and communities with a reduced likelihood of re-offending," said Mr East.

He said that the expanded use of home detention would be supported by a wide range of programmes aimed at the overall rehabilitation of offenders.

"One of the benefits of home detention is that it provides closer supervision of offenders in the community and therefore reduces the likelihood of their re-offending.