Supervision regime for ex-Aussie offenders

Justice Minister Amy Adams has announced a new supervision regime for offenders who return to New Zealand after serving a prison sentence overseas. This is aimed at people born in New Zealand being deported from Australia.

It has been criticised by Labour and by Greens and no doubt by many others for not doing enough and for doing too much.

Newstalk ZB reports Criticism levelled at new deportation rules.

Labour’s foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer…

…said too many people have already been shipped back here that we’ve not been keeping tabs on.

“How come it’s taken until now?,” Shearer asked. “We’re now eleven months into knowing what the Australians were going to do.”

Green co-leader James Shaw:

The Green Party’s concerned that Kiwi taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill for the new measures. Party co-leader James Shaw thinks the government will be picking up a substantial cost on behalf of the Australians.

Shaw’s blaming Key for the fact that there even has to be such a policy.

“It’s as a result of John Key’s failure to get any concessions out of Malcom Turnbull”.

One News: Plans to monitor deported crims get a cool reception.

But Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust says it’s not enough.

“I think what we really need is to be able to utilise the eyes and ears of the public. So we want a publicly available register,” he said.

That sounds naive. I don’t know what Shaw thinks Key could have done to force the Australian Government to do something.

If a known recent serious offender was deported back to New Zealand and committed a serious crime here then there would probably be an uproar, especially from opposition politicians. So something must be done. There will always be people who claim too much and not enough.

News release from Amy Adams:

“Our paramount concern in this regard is the safety and security of the New Zealand public,” Ms Adams says.

“From the outset, it’s been my intention that criminals being returned to New Zealand should be subject to the same sort of oversight, as offenders who had served a similar prison sentence in New Zealand.

“Now that we have a register to track these offenders and an information sharing arrangement with Australia to provide us with all the detailed information we need, we’re in a much better position to properly assess and monitor these returning offenders – the majority of whom come from Australia.”

The proposed supervision regime will apply automatically to returning offenders who:

  • were sentenced to more than one year in prison in another country;
  • return to New Zealand within six months of their release from custody overseas; and
  • were imprisoned for behaviour that would be an imprisonable offence under New Zealand law.

“The reality is we don’t have a choice whether to accept these New Zealand citizens or choose when they arrive. Along with the other initiatives we’ve already announced, the supervision regime will put us in a stronger position to monitor and manage offenders who pose a threat to the public, and will help rehabilitate and reintegrate returning offenders into the community,” Ms Adams says.

The period of supervision will be based on the length of each offender’s overseas sentence.

They will be subject to conditions that mirror those in the Parole Act 2002. Standard release conditions will apply to all offenders subject to the supervision regime, and the Department of Corrections will be able to ask the court to impose additional special conditions as required.

The proposed regime will also allow courts to impose special conditions on any offender who was subject to some form of monitoring or supervision at the time they were deported, regardless of how long it has been since their release.

Under the regime, Police will have the authority to photograph and fingerprint all returning offenders, and to require them to provide specified information, such as name and aliases, date and place of birth and intended address. This will apply to all persons who have been required to leave another country, including people who have had their residency or visa cancelled on character grounds.

In addition, Police will be able to get a DNA sample from deported offenders if the offence they were deported for is also an imprisonable offence in New Zealand – mirroring the provision of the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995.

Extended Supervision Orders and Public Protection Orders are already able to be sought for the highest risk offenders following law changes in 2014.

It is estimated on average about 100 people at any one time will be subject to the supervision regime. The scheme is expected to cost about $7 million over a five year period.

“It’s my intention to advance these changes as a matter of priority and we’ll be talking with other parties in that regard,” says Ms Adams.

The proposed scheme is the latest in a series of initiatives to strengthen New Zealand’s oversight of deported offenders:

  • A register to track and monitor the deportation of offenders (complete)
  • Creating an information sharing arrangement on trans-Tasman deportations which will enable New Zealand and Australian authorities to monitor deportations across the Tasman (complete)
  • Developing a legislative supervision regime for offenders (Bill to be introduced)

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