Hon Murray Cowper MLA

Hon Murray Cowper MLA

Former Minister for Training and Workforce Development; Corrective Services

Hon Michael Mischin LLB (Hons) BJuris (Hons) MLC

Hon Michael Mischin LLB (Hons) BJuris (Hons) MLC

Former Attorney General; Minister for Commerce

    Government to expand GPS tracking of offenders

    20/01/2013 12:00 AM
    • Any offender on parole to be tracked
    • Courts to order monitoring of arsonists and domestic violence offenders

    The State Government will introduce new laws to allow parolees to be tracked and monitored when released from jail.


    Corrective Services Minister Murray Cowper said the Prisoners Review Board (PRB) would be given the power to order the fitting of a GPS device as part of a prisoner’s release on parole.


    “The Government is committed to ensuring public safety by monitoring certain types of offenders when they are released from prison and this has been extended to arsonists and domestic violence offenders,” Mr Cowper said.


    “The GPS technology will allow an offender’s whereabouts to be tracked through satellite, which will receive a signal from the device that is relayed to a central monitoring station, staffed around the clock by the Department of Corrective Services.


    “An electronic monitoring device will be fitted on an offender's wrist or ankle, allowing them to be tracked 24 hours a day to ensure they are meeting their curfew requirement, home detention or any other condition imposed on them by the PRB.


    “If they breach their conditions or try to tamper with the device, an alarm will be activated and the offender will risk being sent back to jail.”


    Attorney General Michael Mischin said State Cabinet had also approved the drafting of legislation to create a new category of a serious, violent offender to enable courts to order these offenders to be fitted with GPS tracking devices.


    Mr Mischin said the new legislation was an expansion of the Government’s initiative to track dangerous sex offenders and would initially target repeat domestic violence offenders and serial arsonists.


    “As part of the Government’s no-tolerance approach to domestic violence, I have commenced drafting new laws to allow courts, in appropriate cases, to order repeat domestic violence offenders be fitted with a GPS device,” he said.


    “This will send a clear message to those domestic violence offenders who attempt to repeatedly threaten or harass their victims that their behaviour will not be tolerated.


    “In addition, Western Australia has the highest incidence of suspicious and deliberately-lit bushfires in the nation, with arson estimated to account for at least 50 per cent of all bushfires State-wide.


    “Given the threat to life and property presented by serial arsonists, in an environment where there can be almost daily instances of catastrophic fire conditions, the Government considers this reform to be a measured response to this criminal activity.


    “By allowing courts to order GPS devices to be fitted to serial arsonists, authorities can detect when these offenders approach exclusions zones, such as high-risk bushfire areas or the location of their previous offences.”


    Mr Mischin said funding for the additional devices would be sought through the standard budgetary process.


          Fact File

    • In December 2012, Liberal National Govt passed legislation to allow GPS tracking of dangerous sex offenders. The devices will be fitted in March
    • Parole administered by PRB under Sentence Administration Act 2003
    • In granting parole, PRB may, in appropriate cases, make conditions which address protection of victims’ interests; place residential requirements or travel restrictions on parolees; and/or facilitate rehabilitation and employment
    • Sections 30(c), (d) and (e) of Sentence Administration Act 2003 allow for a condition to be made requiring a prisoner to wear a ‘monitoring device’
    • Govt’s legal advice is a ‘monitoring device’ does not include a ‘tracking device’
    • GPS technology is considered to involve ‘tracking devices’
    • Cabinet’s decision allows for removal of this restriction so as to allow parolees to be fitted with GPS tracking devices where PRB so orders

    Corrective Services Minister’s office:  6552 5700

    Attorney General’s office:  6552 5600