In certain circumstances, a court can order an offender who has completed their sentence to be subject to post-sentence supervision or detention. The power is limited to serious sex offenders who the court determine will be an unacceptable risk of committing further sex offences after finishing their sentence.
The Board currently has a role in relation to the post-sentence supervision and detention scheme. However, the government has announced that it will make major changes to the scheme, including to establish a new body to perform a range of functions under the scheme. As a consequence of those changes, the Adult Parole Board will cease to have a role in relation to post sentence orders from 2018.
If a person is serving a sentence for an offence that is classified as a ‘serious sex offence’ and is approaching the end or his or her prison sentence, the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation may apply to the County Court or the Supreme Court for a supervision order under the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009 (opens in a new window).
The court may make a supervision order if is satisfied that the offender poses an unacceptable risk of committing a serious sex offence after their sentence is finished if the court does make a supervision order.
When it makes a supervision order, the court may impose conditions. These can include conditions that control where the person lives, who the person may contact, or activities the person may participate in. The conditions can also include drug testing and electronic monitoring. Corrections Victoria are responsible for managing persons subject to a supervision order and the Detention and Supervision Order Division of the Adult Parole Board, if authorised by the court making the order, can give directions about the operation of the conditions of the order.
Although there are some similarities with parole, there are important differences:
- A parolee is still serving a prison sentence even though they are in the community (legally they are still referred to as a ‘prisoner’). By contrast, a person on a supervision order is no longer serving a sentence.
- A parole order is made by the Adult Parole Board. The Board imposes the conditions and it is the Board that can decide to cancel the order and to return the parolee to prison. By contrast, a supervision order is made by a court. The court imposes the conditions. If the person breaches a supervision order, they can be prosecuted in court for an offence of breaching a supervision order and can be sentenced by a court for that offence.
The Board (through its Detention and Supervision Order Division) has a much narrower role in relation to supervision orders than it does in relation to parole orders. When a person is subject to a supervision order, the Board is responsible for providing directions about how certain conditions are to operate (for example, the condition imposed by the court may enable the Board to decide where the person should live) and to examine apparent breaches of conditions (for example, to issue a formal warning or to recommend that they be prosecuted for the offence of breach of supervision order).
If a serious sex offender is approaching the end of their sentence and a supervision order would not be sufficient to protect the community, the Director of Public Prosecutions has the power to apply to the Supreme Court under the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009 (opens in a new window) for the court to make a detention order. The Court can make a detention order if it is satisfied that the offender would pose an unacceptable risk of committing a specified serious sex offence if the court does not make a detention order and the offender is released into the community.
A detention order can last for up to three years, but may be renewed. A person who is subject to a detention order is not a prisoner and is not serving a sentence. They are detained in a secure facility within the grounds of a prison but that is not legally a prison and they have certain rights and privileges that are different to prisoners (for example, they cannot be required to work).
The Board does not have any role in the application for or making of a detention order, but is responsible for reviewing and monitoring people who are the subject of a detention order.