TAS Introduces Bill to Establish Electronic Monitoring of Parolees

Thursday 3 September 2020 @ 1.35 p.m. | Crime | Legal Research

The Corrections Amendment (Electronic Monitoring) Bill 2020 (Tas) (the “Bill”) was introduced to Tasmania’s House of Assembly on 29 July 2020, by Minister for Corrections, Elise Archer. According to the explanatory memorandum, the Bill proposes amendments to the Corrections Act 1997 (the “Act”) to “provide express powers for the Parole Board to impose electronic monitoring conditions on a parole order”.

Background

According to the Bill’s explanatory memorandum, Tasmanian courts already have explicit powers in legislation to impose a condition requiring electronic monitoring when making a home detention order or a family violence order. Currently, section 72 of the Act enables the Parole Board (“the Board”) to make a parole order subject to such terms and conditions as the Board considers necessary, but does not contain any specific provisions in relation to electronic monitoring.

The explanatory memorandum also notes that the proposed amendment will insert a new subsection (5A) to section 72 of the Act, that explicitly provides the power for electronic monitoring of prisoners who are released on parole, without limiting the general powers already available to the Board to impose conditions on a parolee. The Bill provides certainty that the Board may include electronic monitoring as a condition of parole.

As the Minister noted in her speech to parliament:

"other than Tasmania, all states and the Northern Territory have legislation that explicitly provides for electronic monitoring of prisoners who are released on parole. The Australian Capital Territory does not undertake electronic monitoring of offenders in the community".

Outcome of the Amendments

Under the proposed amendments, the Board will be able to specify conditions requiring a prisoner who is released on parole:

  • to submit to electronic monitoring;
  • to not remove, tamper or interfere with, damage or disable any electronic device or equipment used for the purpose of the electronic monitoring, and to not knowingly permit an unauthorised person to do so; and
  • to comply with all reasonable and lawful directions that are given in relation to the electronic monitoring by a prescribed or authorised person.

According to the explanatory memorandum, the Bill:

"does not expand the range of controls or prohibitions that is already imposed under the Act. Electronic monitoring provides a means to more effectively ascertain whether a parolee is complying with certain conditions and initiate an appropriate response if a breach is suspected".

Comment on the Bill

In her speech, the Minister commented:

“Tasmanian courts currently have explicit powers in legislation to impose a condition requiring electronic monitoring when making a home detention order or a family violence order. Other than Tasmania, all states and the Northern Territory have legislation that explicitly provides for electronic monitoring of prisoners who are released on parole. The Australian Capital Territory does not undertake electronic monitoring of offenders in the community … The Parole Board may also impose a condition that the prisoner must not remove, tamper or interfere with, damage or disable any electronic device or equipment used for the purpose of the electronic monitoring, and a condition that the prisoner must not knowingly permit an unauthorised person to do so”.

Public Comment and Reaction to the Bill

Cassy O'Connor, Leader of the Greens said in a Media Release:

“We recognise it is legislation that seeks to balance prisoner rehabilitation with community safety. It has broad support from key stakeholders in this space, including Civil Liberties Tasmania, Community Legal Centres Tasmania, and the Prisoners Legal Service … evolved jurisdictions are actually moving away from that punitive 'lock them up' approach towards a more rehabilitative response in corrections and they are seeing not only prison populations going down and better outcomes for released prisoners but the community is safer as a consequence.”

In their submission on the Bill, Community Legal Centres Tasmania commented:

“We are supportive of the Tasmanian Government’s intention to amend the Corrections Act 1997 (Tas) to provide specific authority for the Parole Board to include electronic monitoring as a condition of a prisoner’s parole”.

Civil Liberties Australia also said in their submission on the Bill “ … in introducing the Bill, the Government undertake to evaluate the extent to which the amendments achieve these intended outcomes – say, every two years – and report back to the Tasmanian public.”

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.

Sources:

Related Articles:

LawOne for Legislative compliance.

Legislation hotline: 1800 077 088

FREE legislation news, delivered weekly.

Sign up now.

We love legislation. About us.

NEW information resources - great for training.

Access now.

LawOne product page. Search national legislation.Point in Time product page. Search legislation by time period.