Corrective Services Minister Joe Berinson today announced a major expansion of prisoner home detention to cover more country areas.
Mr Berinson said home detention, introduced in the metropolitan area in April last year, had proved a successful and cost-effective alternative to prison for people serving sentences of less than 12 months.
The system was expanded in August to the Bunbury region, including Augusta-Margaret River, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown/Greenbushes, Busselton, Capel, Collie, Dardanup, Donnybrook-Balingup, Harvey, Manjimup and Nannup.
It will now also be available in Beverley, Bindoon, Brookton, Bruce Rock, Corrigin, Cuballing, Cunderdin, Dalwallinu, Dandaragan, Dowerin, Goomalling, GinGin, Kellerberrin, Kondinin, Koorda, Moora, Mt Marshall, Mukinbudin, Mundaring, Murray, Narembeen, Northam, Nungarin, Pingelly, Quairading, Tammin, Toodyay, Trayning, Victoria Plains, Waroona, Westonia, Wongan-Ballidu, Wyalkatchem, York and Yilgarn.
Home detention is available to minimum security prison inmates serving sentences of less than 12 months, and can also be granted by the courts as a condition of bail.
Statistics for the metropolitan area to June 30 this year - the first 14 months operation - show particular success with prison-release home detainees. Of 140 prisoners taking part, only 16 breached the conditions of their release.
While comparatively few people participated in bail home detention, more breaches occurred with only 27 successful completions of a possible 58. This aspect was being closely monitored to see if changes were necessary.
Mr Berinson said the cost of detention was reduced from about $50,000 a year to keep a prisoner in an institution to less than $6,000 for home detention.
People on home detention would be required to wear an electronic monitoring device which enabled the Department of Corrective Services to ensure they remained in the home detention area.
They would also be required to work a set number of hours' unpaid community work each week.