New Authority To Keep Watch Over Serious Offenders

The Andrews Labor Government is establishing a new statutory authority to keep watch over the state’s most serious offenders – a key recommendation of the Harper Review.

The Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Amendment (Governance) Bill 2017 will be introduced into Parliament today to create the Post Sentence Authority.

The authority will provide independent and rigorous oversight of the post-sentence scheme, which provides for the detention or supervision of serious sex offenders who pose an unacceptable risk to the community after prison.

The authority will also oversee the detention or supervision of serious violent offenders when the scheme starts next year.

The authority will consist of up to 10 members, who will be a mix of former judges and magistrates, lawyers and community members with relevant expertise.

Currently, the Independent Adult Parole Board (APB) deals with the supervision and detention of serious offenders. The new authority will allow the APB to focus solely on parole.

Multi-agency panels, consisting of Victoria Police, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice and Regulation will be created to reduce the risk of reoffending.

The panels will be responsible for managing offenders subject to the post-sentence scheme, ensuring all relevant authorities are focused on reducing the risk of reoffending and keeping the community safe.

The reforms build on the Labor Government’s response to the Harper Review, including a record investment of close to $400 million across the 2016/17 and 2017/18 Victorian Budgets.

All 35 of the Harper Review recommendations have either been delivered or are in the process of being implemented. Seven recommendations have already been completed, this Bill will go towards finalising a further 14.

The Labor Government is currently expanding the post-sentence scheme to include serious violent offenders, and building two new secure facilities to detain and supervise offenders.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney

“This new authority will provide independent and rigorous oversight of the post-sentence detention and supervision scheme, and keep the community safe.”

“Keeping the community safe is our priority – that’s why we’re implementing every recommendation of the Harper Review, with all reforms to be implemented next year.”