Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner
Putting Victims First: Use Of Electronic Monitoring To Expand
Victor P Taffa
Gunner Northern Territory (NT) Government is taking additional action to support victims of crime and break the cycle of crime affecting our community.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner today announced that Government will seek to pass legislation on urgency in Parliament in March to expand the use of electronic monitoring (bracelets) and stop offenders committing crime while on bail.
Last week the Government announced the most comprehensive overhaul of the broken youth justice system in the history of the Northern Territory.
“Like the community, I am fed-up with this recent spike in crime we are listening and taking decisive action to address this.” Chief Minister Gunner said.
“We know there is an issue with youths being caught then re-offending and Territory Police say this expansion of electronic monitoring will allow them to intervene early with youths in danger of becoming recidivist offenders.”
Chief Minister Gunner said the additional $18.2 Million recently allocated to fix the broken youth justice system would also address youths on bail by supporting the enforcement of bail conditions.
“Our $18.2 Million overhaul of the youth justice system means, for the first time in Territory history, young offenders on bail will be case managed to provide support, enforcement and accountability to stop them reoffending and committing more crime.” Chief Minister Gunner said.
“We know too many offenders commit crimes while on bail and supporting the enforcement of bail conditions and expanding electronic monitoring powers for Police are immediate action to break the cycle.”
Chief Minister Gunner said NT Police are currently restricted from putting an electronic bracelet on people they bail.
“I have asked our Departments and Police to get to work on options on removing that restriction urgently, because there is a real opportunity for Police to act early, to monitor kids at risk, and prevent them from a life of crime.” Chief Minister Gunner said.
“Police need those powers urgently because we know that when kids first interact with Police, we need to intervene early, before they fall off the cliff it also helps the offender address peer group pressure to commit another crime and say ‘no’.”
Chief Minister Gunner said the Government had taken a raft of decisive action to address the current spike in crime including:
- 18 additional Police focused on tackling youth crime (and a commitment to fulfil the CLP (Country Liberal Party) broken promise of 120 additional Police over the term).
- 52 youth diversion workers based in Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine and Alice Springs and co-located with Police, Education and NGO providers to:
1) Provide professional support to courts and Police to improve sentencing and diversion decisions;
2) Provide early-intervention, case management and co-ordinate after hours youth activities in each region;
3) Support enforcement of bail conditions to protect the public and reintegrate young people back into the community.
- An additional $6 Million a year for NGO’s to deliver evidence-based diversion programs including wilderness programs and boot camps (focussing on skill development, road safety and drug and alcohol education). They will provide diversion options for Police and the courts.
- Supporting the enforcement of bail conditions (this support will be provided by youth diversion workers as well as the NGO sector, including options for accommodation while on bail).
- Expansion of youth justice and victims’ conferencing so victims can tell the offender about the impact of their behaviour. This conferencing is used in all Australian jurisdictions and is known to significantly reduce the likelihood of re-offending when compared to prosecution. Victims of crime are more satisfied with the justice process when given a voice.
Non-governmental organization (NGO)