Page 5527 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2011

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for a review of a segregation direction at any time. The director-general may also review the direction at any time on their own initiative.

The bill also amends the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act. The amendments clarify that performance of two days of periodic detention discharges seven days of an offender’s sentence of imprisonment. Such clarity will be useful, for example, in circumstances where the court is resentencing the offender and seeks to determine how much of the sentence has already been served.

Minor amendments will also be made to enable the Sentence Administration Board to more effectively execute its functions. The amendments include allowing the board to accept a certified copy of a doctor’s certificate from an offender applying for approval not to perform a period of periodic detention, and clarifying what circumstances the board must consider in determining whether an offender is unlikely to be able to serve their sentence by periodic detention.

The bill will also amend legislation to allow the deputy chair of the board—not only the chair—to sign a warrant for an offender’s arrest for recommittal to full-time detention where the offender’s periodic detention has been suspended or cancelled. The deputy chair is a judicial member. This amendment may engage the right to liberty in the Human Rights Act. However, the government considers that extending the category of persons permitted to sign recommittal warrants to the only other judicially qualified member of the board does not unreasonably place any further limitation on the right.

Amendments proposed in the bill enable the board to give full effect to non-disclosure provisions, ensuring the confidentiality of board documents. For this purpose, the bill will make amendments so that “giving” a board document includes the oral disclosure of the information in that document. The bill clarifies that corrections officers are required to report a breach of licence obligations.

The bill will amend the Crimes (Sentencing) Act to ensure that interstate assessors can prepare pre-sentence reports for ACT courts. A minor amendment will also be made so that ACT courts are only required to provide written pre-sentence reports to parties at least two days before an offender is sentenced where the report is received by the court itself within that time frame. A flow-on effect of this minor amendment is that the practice of on-the-spot assessments by Corrective Services officers for the purpose of written pre-sentence reports will be able to continue.

As part of ongoing review of corrective services in the territory, this bill will make a number of other minor amendments. Together, these amendments will result in greater clarity and efficiency for both providers and recipients of corrective services in the ACT.

The bill will enable ACT Corrective Services, including the Sentence Administration Board, to provide services more effectively in the territory, to the benefit of the entire ACT community.

On behalf of the Attorney-General, I commend this bill to the Assembly.

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