Victoria Premier Denis Napthine
Victoria Minister for Corrections Edward O’Donohue
Legislation Introduced To Make Breach Of Parole An Offence
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Coalition Government is acting to further improve Victoria’s parole system by introducing legislation to make it an offence to breach parole.
Premier Denis Napthine and Corrections Minister Edward O’Donohue announced the Corrections Amendment (Breach of Parole) Bill 2013 will today be introduced to the Victorian Parliament.
“This is an important further step in the Coalition Government’s wholesale reform of Victoria’s parole system.” Dr. Napthine said.
“We agree with the people of Victoria that the primary purpose of parole should be the protection of the community. This Bill is very much in line with that principle.”
Dr. Napthine said that under the new legislation, anyone who commits further offences while under parole or breaches the terms and conditions of their parole would face additional penalties.
“This Bill also gives Police new powers to arrest and charge a parolee for a breach of parole terms and conditions, whether or not it involves further offending. Examples of such breaches include breaking a curfew, entering a restricted area or breaching an alcohol ban.” Dr. Napthine said.
“This means Police effectively have extra powers to deal with parolees before they have committed further offences, by arresting them for parole breaches and putting them back behind bars.”
Mr. O’Donohue said the new offence would carry penalties of up to three months jail to be served on top of any other sentence a $4,200 fine, or both.
“The introduction of these changes adds to the Coalition Government’s moves earlier this year to similarly make breaching bail an offence. It is also the latest step in reforming Victoria’s parole system.” Mr. O’Donohue said.
“Earlier this year, the Coalition Government changed the legislation so that serious sex and violence offenders committing further such crimes while on parole would go straight back to jail.”
“A new presumption of parole cancellation also now applies at the point of charge, making it the toughest regime in Australia.”
Last year, the Coalition Government implemented a raft of administrative changes to the parole system, as recommended by the Sentencing Advisory Council. This included improving information sharing among Victoria Police, Corrections Victoria and the Adult Parole Board.
Mr. O’Donohue said the Coalition Government had also commissioned former High Court Justice Ian Callinan to carry out a review of the Adult Parole Board’s operations. The review is currently underway.
“These sweeping changes to Victoria’s parole system form part of the strengthening of law and order in Victoria, which the Coalition was elected to implement.” Mr. O’Donohue said.
“These reforms include the recruitment of an additional 1,700 Police and 940 PSOs to patrol railway stations in Melbourne and regional centres, and the introduction of tougher sentencing, in line with community expectations.”