The Andrews Labor Government will overhaul the system for supervising the state’s most serious criminals, by building new secure facilities, expanding supervision and introducing sweeping reforms to keep Victorians safe.
The Labor Government today released the Harper Review into the management of serious sex offenders and announced $84 million in funding in the 2016/17 Victorian Budget to directly respond to this landmark report.
The government commissioned the Harper Review of the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009 last year following the murder of 17-year-old Masa Vukotic by Sean Christian Price.
The review found existing laws were inadequate and did not adequately manage the risk Price posed to the community. It recommends sweeping changes to increase supervision and treatment of high risk offenders.
The Government has accepted all 35 recommendations made by the Harper Review in principle, and work is already underway to implement them.
The sex offender supervision scheme will be expanded to include the state’s most serious violent offenders, additional powers to control high risk offenders will be introduced, and a new governance model to oversee the scheme will be developed.
As part of the response, the Government will build a new 20-bed secure facility to deal with the most serious offenders who can’t be managed in Corella Place or the community.
The Budget contains a range of measures to tighten the net around offenders and better protect the community, including:
A new model for assessing and managing prisoners so that intervention happens earlier and those who remain a risk to the community are identified.
An expanded supervision model for those on orders and additional resources for mental health treatment for violent offenders.
A new facility for offenders on supervision orders who have disabilities.
The development of a new governance model for overseeing the operation of the scheme so that decisions are always made in the interests of community safety.
These reforms will build on changes to the serious sex offenders supervision scheme brought in last year, including a Specialist Response Unit comprising senior Corrections Victoria staff, Victoria Police detectives and intelligence analysts.
A community safety bill currently before the Parliament includes new conditions of supervision orders to prohibit violent offending and conduct, and increased police powers to hold serious sex offenders without charge from 10 hours to 72 hours. These are recommendations from the Harper Review.
A copy of the expert panel’s report can be accessed on the Department of Justice and Regulation’s website.
Quotes attributable to Acting Premier of Victoria James Merlino
"The system failed Masa Vukotic and her family and we will do everything we can to make sure it never happens again."
"Work is well underway to overhaul the way we control and supervise the state’s most serious criminals, and these additional reforms further tighten the net and keep Victorians safe."
"We promised we would fix the system, and that’s exactly what we’re doing."
Quotes attributable to Acting Minister for Corrections Robin Scott
"We’ve started implementing the recommendations set out in the Harper Review, which provides a detailed blueprint for managing and treating high-risk offenders."
"I would like to thank all of the members of the panel for their contribution to a safer Victoria."
Reviewed 19 August 2020