Scrapping periodic detention will pressure prison and community

Changes to ACT sentencing legislation will reduce options for the judiciary and increase pressure on Canberra’s prison and the Canberra community, Shadow Minister for Corrections Andrew Wall said today.

“The Crimes (Sentencing) Amendment Bill brought on by ACT Labor and Simon Corbell seeks to remove periodic detention from the suite of options available to the ACT courts when delivering a sentence, without providing an alternative,” Mr Wall said.

“The judiciary won’t be able to sentence criminals to periodic detention beyond July 2016 or combine a term of full-time imprisonment with periodic detention. The only options will be full time detention or releasing criminals back into the community.

“Removing a sentencing option without providing an alternative simply limits the amount of discretion available to the ACT judiciary when considering sentencing options.

“Today’s legislation is not good policy and will only increase demand for space inside Canberra’s prison which is already bursting at the seams. Furthermore, the judiciary could be pressured into prematurely releasing potentially dangerous criminals into the community because they would no longer have the option of periodic detention in sentencing.

“The government needs to reconsider its actions and the opposition will not be supporting the government’s changes. It’s a bad policy decision based on flawed thinking,” Mr Wall concluded.