Page 423 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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Directorate has functions relating to intensive correction orders, the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 and the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005. The amendment retrospectively delegates certain director-general functions to ACT Corrective Services officers who had responsibility for the supervision of an offender on an intensive correction order.

Intensive correction orders became a sentencing option in the ACT on 2 March 2016. Such an order allows an offender to serve their sentence in the community, remain in employment and maintain community ties. The conditions of an order can be tailored by the courts to suit the circumstances of the offence and the offender, but are still sufficiently structured to ensure every order places appropriate obligations on an offender. A core condition of an intensive correction order under section 42 of the sentence administration act is that the offender must comply with any direction given by the director-general under the sentence administration act or the Corrections Management Act 2007.

The director-general has functions in relation to intensive correction orders under both the sentence administration act and the sentencing act. It is usual practice for certain functions of the director-general to be delegated to the appropriate Corrective Services officers.

The sentence administration act provides that the director-general may exercise functions and powers relating to the supervision of an offender’s order obligations. The sentencing act includes functions that relate to the assessment of offenders for their suitability for an intensive correction order.

Due to an administrative oversight, certain functions of the director-general under these acts were not delegated to Corrective Services staff when the new sentencing option commenced. Corrective Services officers were unaware that these delegations had not been made. During the relevant period Corrective Services staff acted and made directions under an implied and assumed authority to do so. Two separate delegations were made by the director-general to ensure that current delegations are effective.

The primary purpose of this bill is to retrospectively delegate the functions to Corrective Services staff to correct the technical oversight and put the decisions made by staff on a more sound footing than simply relying on the implied and assumed authority the officers had. As such, it is largely administrative in nature.

It is regrettable that the oversight has resulted in the need for this bill. I have acted promptly to remedy this problem as soon as it was drawn to my attention. I assure members of the Assembly that I take this matter extremely seriously. The directorate is investigating, as a matter of priority, all delegations across the directorate to avoid this situation arising again.

As I have indicated to members, I intend to seek leave to debate this bill this week to ensure that this matter is addressed in a timely manner. I do understand that the urgency of the bill means that scrutiny will be limited, and I apologise to members in advance for this. That said, I believe that the need to delegate the relevant functions

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