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Home Detention Fact Sheet (November 2002)


Home Detention Fact Sheet (November 2002)

Introduction Home Detention commenced as a new option for the criminal justice system in October 1999. It allows eligible offenders to serve their sentences in an approved residence outside of the prison under electronic and physical surveillance, and intensive supervision by Probation Officers from the Community Probation Service.

Home Detention provides an alternative to imprisonment and aims to reduce re-offending while also coping with expanding prison numbers and rising costs. It allows eligible offenders to retain or seek employment, maintain family relationships and responsibilities and attend rehabilitative programmes that contribute towards addressing the causes of their offending.

Home Detention may also provide an alternative to prison for eligible offenders with special needs, such as parents with young children, pregnant women, or offenders with disabilities.
Eligibility Sentencing judges decide whether an offender sentenced to two years imprisonment or less may apply to the New Zealand Parole Board to serve their sentence of imprisonment by way of Home Detention. Offenders serving a determinate sentence of more than two years may also apply to the New Zealand Parole Board to be released on Home Detention up to three months prior to their parole eligibility date.
Application process Whenever an application for Home Detention is made, the Community Probation Service prepares a comprehensive report on the offender, which is submitted to the New Zealand Parole Board. The board can only release someone on Home Detention if they are confident that person will not pose a risk to the safety of the community or anyone in the community.

The Home Detention Report examines the rehabilitative needs of each offender as well as considering their suitability to serve their sentence of imprisonment by way of Home Detention. It also considers the suitability of the proposed residence. The consent of other residents in the home must be obtained before the offender can be released to Home Detention.

People on the Victim Notification Register will be notified by the New Zealand Parole Board of any impending Home Detention hearing by the offender and can make a submission to the board. They will also be advised of any subsequent release to Home Detention.

All decisions to release an offender on Home Detention are made by the New Zealand Parole Board. The board will also set the conditions of the offender's release to Home Detention and may set any conditions designed to reduce the likelihood of the offender re-offending. For example, they can direct an offender to participate in rehabilitative programmes. Failure to comply with the conditions will incur enforcement procedures and may result in the offender being returned to prison.
Rehabilitative programmes and employment opportunities Key to Home Detention is the offender's commitment to attending rehabilitative programmes designed to reduce re-offending. These may include programmes to address such things as:

· Problem solving / cognitive skills · Relationship and sexual issues · Domestic and parenting skills · Cultural issues · Employment training · Education and basic literacy · Violence prevention · Drug and alcohol abuse · Financial and budgeting skills · Psychological and physical health needs.

These types of programmes will be available to offenders serving their sentences by way of Home Detention and, for most offenders, attendance will be a compulsory condition of Home Detention.

Secure environment All offenders serving Home Detention are subject to electronic monitoring, monitoring by security guards, and intensive supervision from Probation Officers.

Electronic surveillance equipment provides specialised monitoring through an electronic monitoring unit based at the place of residence. The offender wears an anklet that emits a continuous radio signal and triggers an alarm if the offender leaves the confines of the property without prior approval. The electronic surveillance together with frequent contact with their Probation Officer and checks by the security guards provides for a secure environment.

Offenders must give their consent and be willing to abide by the conditions of Home Detention. They must comply with the relevant statutory conditions, and with any special conditions imposed by the New Zealand Parole Board. Offenders must not violate any conditions while serving Home Detention and will be closely monitored to ensure that they do not leave the prescribed area without first obtaining permission. Violation of any Home Detention conditions will incur enforcement procedures and may result in the offender being returned to Prison.
Management of Home Detention Home Detention is managed by the Community Probation Service in partnership with Chubb New Zealand Limited, which provides the electronic, and security monitoring services. The contract with Chubb NZ Ltd defines the services to be provided, including such aspects as:

· Continuous electronic monitoring of the offender while in the residence · Alarm response by security guards · Checks by security guards as requested by the Community Probation Service when the offender is on an approved absence somewhere other than the residence, for example, at work.
Availability of Home Detention Home Detention is available in most urban areas and a large number of rural areas. The Community Probation Service will confirm the availability of Home Detention when an offender makes an application stating the address at which he or she proposes to reside. Background information Home Detention was first implemented in the United States in 1980, Australia in 1987 and in England and Wales in 1989. Home Detention is considered to be a viable alternative to imprisonment for some offenders as it reduces the cost of imprisonment while providing stringent restraints on the offender and emphasising public safety.

Home Detention allows for offenders to remain in a positive environment while undertaking rehabilitative and educational programmes to address the causes of their offending. Further, it allows training and work opportunities to be taken up within the community.

In New Zealand a two-year pilot scheme for Home Detention commenced in February 1995. In the evaluation of the pilot, the Ministry of Justice and the Community Probation Service proposed some changes for the further implementation of Home Detention nationwide. These included:

· A change from a "passive" electronic monitoring system (use of random telephone calls and video checks) to an "active" system (the offender wears a security device which continuously emits a signal and triggers an alarm if the offender leaves the confines of the property without prior approval) · The use of Security Guards for response services, including surveillance work, responding to alarms and the installation and maintenance of electronic monitoring equipment · An increased target group of offenders, some of whom will have served only very minimal prison time · Phased nationwide implementation so far as possible.

Further related information can be obtained from the Department of Corrections’ web site: http://www.corrections.govt.nz


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