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Serious sex offenders contacts doubled

Issued: 28 June 2013
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​Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said today the face-to-face contacts with 78 serious sex offenders on parole have doubled as part of an innovative new supervision and management regime to reduce re-offending.

Vital checks to catch out offenders giving false information are also boosted.

The new regime sets unprecedented minimum requirements for home visits and information verification for all offenders, including sex offenders, in the community.

Mr Severin said the new system provides a higher and more consistent standard of assessment including new formalised Community Impact Assessments.

"While the community impact of reoffending always plays an important role in offender management, our new Community Impact Assessments combined with Risk Assessments place an even higher emphasis on community safety.

"This new system is an Australian first. It creates a range of new categories including a high-risk, high-consequence group at the top end of the scale, to which we are targeting extra resources."

Supervision requirements include heavier monitoring such as mandatory home visits, and interventions like psychological services and drug and alcohol programs.

Mr Severin said the overhaul also applies to the highest-risk category sex offenders on Extended Supervision Orders (ESOs).

"I want to make it clear that any failure to comply with the requirements of a supervision order will result in immediate breach action."

Mr. Severin said despite claims that supervision of serious offenders was being reduced, a report to the NSW Attorney General had in fact confirmed the opposite.

"Smart risk-management strategies can be very effective in reducing overall risk to the community, but they cannot totally eliminate re-offending," Mr Severin said.

"By moving away from the costly one-size-fits-all approach which was a hallmark of the previous system, and by developing our new robust risk and consequence assessments, we’re targeting valuable resources to where they are needed.

"For example offenders who have no indications for drugs, alcohol or other specific issues do not require the same intensive services as those who present a higher risk."

Recommended by the Government’s independent Hamburger Report, these reforms were introduced along with the establishment of the new Community Corrections Division (CCD). This saw the merger of two branches responsible for managing offenders in thecommunity after finding serious duplication of effort and lack of alignment in processes.

"Our new system is already having a strong effect," Mr Severin said. The recent report to the NSW Minister for Justice confirmed:

  • Within a month of the new CCD becoming operational, face-to-face checks on all paroled sex offenders were on average 16% higher than previously.
  • There was also a 22 per cent average jump in face-to-face contacts with high-risk sex offenders.
  • All new parolees that are not in high-risk categories will now be treated as high risk for a set period as a safeguard to ensure they are complying with the conditions of their orders.

Mr Severin said a raft of claims regarding the practices of the old Community Compliance and Monitoring Group (CCMG) were myths.

  • The new system operates 7 days for the team monitoring high-risk sex offenders on ESO’s compared to the old CCMG roster which operated only 5 out of 7 days.
  • Analysis of after-hours visits by CCMG established that 95% took place before 9pm and 85% before 8pm. Visits were not generally carried out after 10pm except when there was specific information of an issue. Under the new system, after-hours visits still take place as required.
  • Under the old system only 14% of supervised sex offenders were managed by CCMG. A total of 90% of all high-risk offenders were managed by the Community Offender Services (COS) team (Probation and Parole); 10% by CCMG.
  • Both COS and CCMG had comparable rates for breaching offenders.