Minister Favours Greater Use Of Home Detention

  • Paul East

Minister of Corrections, Paul East, announced today that, in line with the Coalition Agreement, he intended to widen the number of inmates eligible for electronic home detention.

"Alternatives to prison, such as home detention, can be very effective in reducing re-offending and re-integrating prison inmates back into their communities. Overseas experience has shown that it can also be safe and cost effective," said Mr East

Mr East said that detailed options for expanding home detention had yet to be worked through but that it could be used as both :

an alternative to prison for certain categories of offenders and;
as a continuation of sentence prior to parole or final release.
Mr East said that whilst a Ministry of Justice report had been inconclusive about the success or failure of a pilot study of home detention, that was because of the limited number of inmates eligible to take part.

"As a result, only a very small number of offenders were involved and home detention's effectiveness in reducing re-offending and saving taxpayers' dollars was not clearly determined.

"However, I intend to widen the number of eligible offenders and, drawing on the successful introduction of similar programmes overseas, introduce home detention as a full component of the Corrections system.

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.

Mr East said that home detention could provide prison authorities with the ability to control the release back into the community of prison inmates nearing the end of their sentences.

"At the moment, these inmates can be released with only minimal support or supervision. One of the benefits of home detention is that it can provide greater supervision of offenders in the community and therefore reduce the likelihood of their re-offending.

"If we as a country wish to take full advantage of a new type of penalty, such as home detention, then the law will have to be changed so that more offenders are eligible to serve such a sentence," said Mr East.