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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3459 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

When it comes to this piece of legislation, and only this one, I wish he had been the minister a damn sight earlier. I will leave it at that, Mr Speaker.

MR RUGENDYKE (11.09): I, too, will be supporting this legislation. I see it as a positive step for sentencing options for our magistrates. This sentencing option will enable prisoners to be at home with their families in appropriate circumstances. I remind members that prior to the last election the Osborne Independent Group, as it was then, came up with this idea. It was part of the election platform for Mr Osborne's party at the time. It is interesting that the government took over the initiative that we came up with, and I applaud them for that. I will be supporting the bill.

Question (by Ms Tucker ) negatived.

MS TUCKER (11.12): I wanted to have this debate adjourned because we have had this bill for two weeks and I do not think it has been properly discussed. I do not think we have had time to look at it. In the time I have had there has been a lot of pressure, as members are well aware. The people I have spoken to, particularly in the Aboriginal community, do not feel they have had a chance to really look at it. They are interested in home detention, as are the Greens, but would like to do the job properly.

I want to make some general comments. This is the first of a planned set of legislation to come before the Assembly to establish Canberra's new corrective services framework. Beyond the lofty title, this bill is about setting up home detention as an option for punishment for a crime. What we want to be sure of is that it will be a useful means of rehabilitation, which the Greens understand means whatever education, counselling, conferencing, drug treatment, training services, health treatments et cetera that the individual who committed the crime needs in order to address their issues such that they will be much less likely to commit a crime after their sentence. "Do no harm" is an important principle here, but our prison system is not currently effective in achieving rehabilitation.

Under this bill home detention will be a sentencing option for people already sentenced to a prison sentence, but only to people who pass the exclusion test, which precludes people found guilty of certain types of offences, and then a suitability test which assesses individual circumstances. The government also wants home detention to be available to people who would be remanded in custody and to people being paroled at the end of their imprisonment sentence.

I will have more to say about the question of remand later, but it needs to be clear first what kinds of offences are left following the exclusion test. I understand that this leaves people whose sentences are no more than 18 months, and what will most likely be left are driving offences, property offences, drug use but not dealing, fraud offences, traffic offences, minor assaults and resisting arrest.

Home detention was recommended by the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody as a way to get indigenous people out of prisons. Last year the report from the women's prison working group and the women's alcohol and other drugs working party recommended further investigation of home detention as an option for women, particularly for women with child-rearing responsibilities. However, home detention has

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