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In December 2017, changes to the High Risk Offenders Scheme were made to better protect the community from high risk sex and violent offenders who pose an unacceptable risk to the community at the end of their sentence.
There is only a small number of high risk sex and violent offenders in NSW, but their crimes have a significant impact on victims, victims' families and our communities.
This reform is the outcome of the NSW Government's 2016-17 review of the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 and will help deliver tough and smart justice for safer communities.
CDOs and ESOs will continue to be used to manage high risk sex and violent offenders through either continued detention in a correctional centre or extended supervision by Corrective Services NSW in the community. These Supreme Court orders can apply for up to five years after an offender's sentence expires. The Supreme Court is empowered to make further orders against offenders who are found to present an ongoing, unacceptable risk at the end of their sentence.
As of October 2017 there were 87 high risk offenders subject to an ESO and two subject to a CDO (with an additional two offenders on interim orders).
CDOs allow for high risk offenders to be imprisoned in a correctional centre after their sentence expires. When deciding whether to make a CDO, the Supreme Court must consider whether the offender presents an unacceptable risk of committing either a serious sex or violent offence if they are released. Before the reforms, the Supreme Court was only required to consider whether the offender could be adequately supervised in the community.
ESOs allow for the strict supervision of high risk sex and violent offenders in the community by Community Corrections Officers. Supervision conditions can include: electronic monitoring, restrictions on who offenders associate with, where offenders go, regular reporting to an Community Corrections Officer, and participation in rehabilitation programs.
When making an order against an offender, the Supreme Court considers detailed risk assessments by psychologists as well as statements from victim/s, the offender's behaviour while in custody, and participation in rehabilitation programs.
To support the victims of crimes, changes to the Corrective Services NSW Victims Register will enable more victims to be informed when a relevant offender is being considered for a CDO or ESO application. This will give more registered victims the opportunity to provide a statement to the Supreme Court (in writing or orally), to ensure that they are heard. In cases where the victim is deceased, victims' families will have the right to make a statement.
Offenders who may be subject to the Scheme will be identified and informed earlier. Advising offenders earlier that they may be subject to a CDO or ESO at the end of their prison sentence encourages participation in rehabilitation programs to reduce reoffending.
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