Legislation to reform Western Australia's sentencing laws to target serious violent offenders and give a greater voice to victims and their families has passed through State Parliament.
Attorney General Michael Mischin said the changes fulfilled a Liberal National Government election commitment to impose strict controls on serious violent offenders through post-sentence supervision orders, including via GPS tracking.
Mr Mischin said it was the first time in more than 20 years that the State's sentencing laws had been overhauled to become clearer, simpler and more transparent.
"The Sentencing Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 takes a tougher approach to the small number of offenders who commit serious and violent offences, while at the same time, empowering victims of crime to have a greater say in court," he said.
"Under the changes, the Prisoners Review Board will have the discretion to apply a post-sentence supervision order for a period of two years for those convicted of serious violent offences, and other serious offences such as arson.
"The legislation also significantly broadens the definition of a victim of crime to include both the primary victim and that person's immediate family, which will give a voice to a greater range of victims, both at the point of sentencing and if a prisoner is being considered for parole.
"In addition, a victim of crime will now include a person who has suffered psychological and psychiatric harm, not just bodily harm."
The Attorney General said courts would be given more options when sentencing low-level offenders in an effort to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal people in Western Australia's criminal justice system.
"Offenders will be able to complete community work in lieu of paying a fine under an enhanced Conditional Release Order for low level offences which don't warrant imprisonment," he said.
"It forms part of the Liberal National Government's commitment to divert low-level first time offenders away from sentences that could lead to incarceration, which in many cases, creates a cycle of offending and convictions."
The Bill implements the recommendations of a statutory review of the Sentencing Act 1995 (WA), which sought the views of key stakeholders such as judicial officers and victims of crime, as well as issues raised in WA Court of Appeal decisions
Attorney General's office - 6552 5600