Tracking Offenders

Audrey Young at NZ Herald reports:

Dangerous repeat violent offenders and sex offenders could be monitored for the rest of their lives after release from prison, says Police and Corrections Minister .

She wants to develop a comprehensive management scheme similar to one run in Britain and says a law allowing it could be passed by the 2014 election. …

Mrs Tolley returned last week from visiting the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements group (Mappa) in London.

It monitors about 58,000 registered offenders who are deemed to pose a serious risk of harm to the public on their release.

“They do a risk analysis of them and keep track of them essentially for the rest of their lives,” she said.

At a minimum, the offenders were required to register once a year.

Not a great burden.

Officials kept track of their address, job, family relationships and other things depending on the individual.

The officials kept an eye on their propensity for offending again but also worked with them to help them find another job if they lost one, or find housing.

Mrs Tolley said she was worried that once repeat offenders finished their parole or supervision orders they went out into the community.

“Take someone like Stewart Wilson – he’s on parole and then he is on an extended supervision order for 10 years, which is a really close monitoring of him, but at the end of that period he is finished and we just walk away.”

She hoped that because Wilson was older, his opportunities for reoffending would be few, “but there are some younger ones who will just disappear out into the community”.

Asked about civil liberties concerns, she said most offenders found it helpful to have that sort of structure in their lives “and know if something goes wrong, there is someone keeping track of them and they are not on their own out in the community”.

Sounds a worthwhile initiative if it can reduce reoffending rates.

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