Criminal Justice Reform Bill becomes law
Wed 25 Jul 2007
Yesterday, the Criminal Justice Reform Bill was passed by Parliament. The bill was divided and passed as: Sentencing Council Act 2007; Bail ...
Yesterday, the Criminal Justice Reform Bill was passed by Parliament. The bill was divided and passed as: Sentencing Council Act 2007; Bail Amendment Act 2007; Sentencing Amendment Act 2007; Parole Amendment Act 2007; and Prisoners' and Victims' Claims Amendment Act 2007.
The new legislation reforms some aspects of the criminal justice system, and formalizes the Ministry of Justice’s Effective Interventions policy. The Effective Interventions policy focuses on changes and improvements to prevention and early intervention initiatives, sentencing, restorative justice processes, treatment and rehabilitation, with the aim of addressing the recent increase in New Zealand’s prison population. Changes to the Parole Act 2002 mean that offenders sentenced to twelve months imprisonment will serve their whole sentence. Offenders sentenced to more than twelve months imprisonment will have to serve two thirds of the sentence imposed before being eligible to be considered for parole. Changes around parole mean that: • The Parole Act will be amended to make it clear that release on parole is a privilege and not a right. • The Parole Board will be given the power to make confidentiality orders, which will help to ensure that the Board is in possession of all the relevant information when it is considering a case. • The Commissioner of Police will be given the right to apply for the recall of a parolee to prison in limited circumstances. • The Parole Board will be given the power to summon witnesses. Home detention becomes a sentence in its own right rather than a way of serving a sentence of imprisonment as it is currently. The new Act also creates two new community-based sentences - community detention and intensive supervision - that will provide a higher level of restriction and supervision of offenders than either of the existing community-based sentences. Community-based sentences will also have a greater emphasis on the acquisition of basic work and living skills, while ensuring the offender remains accountable to the community. A major new development is the establishment of a sentencing council to issue sentencing and parole guidelines to address issues of consistency and transparency in sentencing, particularly for less serious offending. "Inconsistency in sentencing is clearly unsatisfactory and unfair. The punishment an offender receives should not depend on the location where he or she happens to appear for sentence," Justice Minister Mark Burton said.
The Effective Interventions in Criminal Justice package was outlined in a speech by Mark Burton on 15 August 2006. Download this speech
The Effective Interventions website is no longer available.
Note: This news item updated and corrected on 10/1/2013