Electronic Monitoring For Young Offenders

19:33' 25-07-2018
Tough new laws mean Victorian lawbreakers as young as 16 could be forced to wear electronic monitoring devices, and be subjected to drug and alcohol tests regardless of age as a condition of parole.

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    Photo: nwherald.com

    The laws will apply mainly to young offenders who have committed serious offences such as murder, rape, home invasions, car jackings, and culpable driving resulting in death. Electronic monitoring ensures they maintain curfew and restrict their movements to certain areas, such as a school or workplace.

    Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said the new laws will better protect the community. The monitoring will be “a constant reminder” to young offenders to comply with their parole orders.

    The independent Youth Parole Board will be required to cancel parole if a young offender breaches a condition of parole, such as tampering with a monitoring device or being charged with a serious offence while on parole. This is already the case for adult offenders convicted of serious crimes who commit further offences while on parole.

    The Victorian justice system has often been criticised by the public and some media commentators for being “too soft” on lawbreakers, granting parole far too easily. However, in his review of the Victorian parole system in July 2013, Ian Callahan AC said society “does not always understand, and tends to undervalue” its work.

    The misunderstanding, he claims, “often lies in a failure to appreciate that many of the causes of crime are social”, a situation which can be improved if potential criminals “can be diverted into leading different lives”.

    The government has also extended laws established to tackle outlaw motorcycle gangs to include those under 18. This allows police to issue teenagers with “unlawful association” notices. Breaching the order could result in three years jail.

    The laws follow recent criticism of the State Government by the State opposition and the Federal Government, suggesting Victoria is in the grip of a “youth gangs problem”, although police deny this is the case.

    A trial of the monitoring law is expected to launch in the first half of 2019, following the roll out of new technology by Corrections Victoria.

    Span Hanna

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Keywords: electronic monitoring devicesvictorian lawbreakersyoung offenders

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