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Home Detention - an effective sentence

EMBARGOED UNTIL
21 September, 2006

Home Detention - an effective sentence

Home Detention continues to be an effective sentence, key performance figures for the year to June show.

A total 98 percent of the offenders on Home Detention during the year, did not abscond or reoffend while serving the sentence, says Katrina Casey, General Manager of Probation and Offender Services for the Department of Corrections. About 400 offenders were on Home Detention at any one time during the year.

This includes offenders who serve the majority of their sentence on Home Detention, and those that serve a minimum of two years in prison and complete their sentence under electronic surveillance at home prior to being released onto parole.

More than 95 percent of 1290 offenders on Home Detention last year, served their sentence without any formal enforcement action having to be taken against them. Enforcement action is taken for breaching detention conditions, and includes recalls to prison if offenders have committed further offences, are considered to jeopardise the safety of others, or the residence is no longer suitable or available.

Ms Casey says one of the benefits of Home Detention is that at the same time as restricting their freedom, it enables a focus on working with the offender to try and get them to become and remain offence-free.

“It does this by being able to put restrictions on offenders while encouraging them to work, maintain and in some cases establish family relationships, and attend treatment programmes.”

She says the success achieved in the management of this sentence is in a large part down to the high quality work and commitment of probation officers across the country.

“As with the management of offenders on all sentences, probation officers face very challenging circumstances on a daily basis. Their dedication and skill in doing their job is at the heart of this success.”

The Government has announced that Home Detention will become a sentence in its own right, in the package of initiatives to strengthen the criminal justice system released recently.

ENDS

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