criminal law

Extended Supervision Orders

In 2015, the South Australia Government passed the Criminal Law (High Risk Offenders) Act 2015. This legislation has been somewhat controversial as it has been said to interfere with the independent power invested in our judiciary.

The legislation states that the Crown may make an application to the Court to impose further supervision on an offender even though they have completed their sentence if they continue to pose an ‘appreciable risk’ to the community.

Typically, a ‘High Risk Offender’ is someone who has been convicted of a serious sexual offence or violence offence against another person. However a person convicted of a terror related offence can also be dealt with under this Act.

The Crown must prove to the Court that an offender poses an ‘appreciable risk’. This is usually done with a  psychiatrist or psychologist assessing the offender and providing an opinion to the Court about the level of risk posed by the offender and what treatment should be put in place to lower that risk.

This legislation mainly effects offenders who are serving a head sentence over 12 months. If a sentence of over 12 months is imposed then the Court is usually required to fix a non-parole period which is the minimum period that the offender must serve in custody. Sexual offences and offences of violence do not qualify for automatic parole therefore at the expiration of the non-parole period the offender may apply to the Parole Board for release on Parole.

The Parole Board must assess whether the offender is a suitable person for release on parole, that is they must be satisfied that the offender will engage in rehabilitation and not commit any further offences if released.

There are a number of rehabilitation programs offered to prisoners in custody. The two important programs for High Risk Offenders to consider are the Sexual Behavioural Clinic and the Violence Prevention Program.

Each program is a duration of approximately 9 months. There are limited spots available so there is often a waiting list for these programs. If an offender is sentenced to an immediate term of imprisonment for a violent and/or sexual offence it is important that they consider applying for one of these programs as soon as possible. Failure to complete one of these programs could result in a refusal of parole. If an offender has still not completed one of these programs nearing the expiration of their head sentence then there is a real likelihood the Crown may apply to the Courts for an Extended Supervision Order (ESO).

There are various conditions that may be imposed under an ESO. For example an offender may be required to be on home detention, submit to drug and alcohol testing and/or attend for Counselling and treatment.

We have experience in representing clients who must respond to an application for an ESO and also applications for revocation or variation of these Orders.

Please contact us if you would like further information or if you require representation.

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