New orders deal with highest risk offenders

  • Judith Collins

Justice Minister Judith Collins introduced legislation to Parliament today that creates special orders to better protect the public from serious sexual or violent offenders. 

The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill will allow the High Court to order offenders who pose a very high risk of imminent and serious sexual or violent offending after they are released from jail, to be detained.

Public Protection Orders (PPOs) would see offenders held in a secure facility until the High Court is convinced they are safe for release.

“This Government is committed to delivering on our election promise to introduce a civil detention regime for the most high-risk offenders,” Ms Collins says.

“The safety of New Zealanders is paramount and it should not be jeopardised by a small number of offenders who continue to be a serious threat after they are released from prison.

“PPOs are a new tool to deal with society’s worst offenders in a way that current sentencing and release provisions, such as extended supervision orders and preventative detention, don’t allow.”

Ms Collins says the regime balances the rights of New Zealanders to be safe in their community with the rights of offenders who have served their sentence.

“The test for handing down an order will be high – there will be strong checks and balances to ensure orders are applied appropriately and reviewed regularly, and give offenders as many civil rights as practicable.”

Offenders subject to a PPO will be able to seek a court review of their detention at any time. If they no longer meet the criteria, they will be released and placed on a protective supervision order.

PPOs are not being designed to target a specific individual and are expected to apply to between five to 12 offenders over the next decade. Many are expected to be child sex offenders.

Justice Minister Judith Collins talks about new legislation to better protect the public from serious sexual or violent offenders.