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​'Safety First' Justice reforms enter parliament

Publication date: Wednesday, 11 October 2017

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The NSW Government today introduced legislation for a tougher and smarter justice system that puts community safety first.

The measures, announced in May 2017, include new sentencing options to bring more offenders under supervision, stricter parole decision making that focuses on community safety and improved management of high-risk sex and violent offenders.

$200 million is being invested and will include recruitment of additional Community Corrections Officers to boost supervision of offenders.

“We’ve worked closely with stakeholders, including victims’ advocacy groups, to implement reforms to cut reoffending, to protect the community and to support victims of crime by reducing the stress caused by prolonged criminal proceedings,” Attorney General Mark Speakman said.

These tough and smart reforms will deliver safer communities by:

  • Giving the State Parole Authority new powers to decide ‘no body, no parole’ and to revoke parole if there is a serious and immediate risk to community safety (even if there has been no breach).
  • Introducing a presumption that domestic violence offenders will receive a supervised sentence in the community or jail time. Safeguards will apply during sentencing to protect victims of domestic violence. 
  • Giving courts better options to hold criminals to account and to reduce reoffending. Suspended sentences will be abolished, Intensive Correction Orders will be strengthened and new more effective community-based sentences will be introduced. 
  • Encouraging early guilty pleas to provide faster, more certain justice for victims and the community, reducing court delays, allowing victims to get on with their lives and returning police to the front line.
  • Bringing more offenders under the supervision of Community Corrections Officers.
  • Ensuring high-risk sex and violent offenders who still pose a danger can be subject to further detention or supervision.

“These reforms are great news for our communities. A tough and smart approach to reducing reoffending will mean less crime and fewer victims,” Minister for Police Troy Grant said.

Minister for Corrections David Elliott said, “Community safety is the bedrock of these reforms and this package will continue the Liberals and Nationals Government trend of reducing crime across NSW”.

Police Commissioner Michael Fuller added, “Frontline police are vital to the safety of our communities. These reforms will reduce the time police invest in preparing for serious criminal cases that do not go ahead due to late guilty pleas”.

Commissioner for Corrective Services NSW Peter Severin said, “Stronger community-based sentencing options will see more offenders under supervision and subject to conditions that hold them to account and help prevent them from returning to a life of crime”.

The introduction of the reforms into NSW Parliament follows close consultation with victims’ advocacy groups (including domestic violence experts and Aboriginal stakeholders), law enforcement stakeholders, the judiciary, the legal profession and government agencies.

For more information, visit: justice.nsw.gov.au/reform