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Better Resourcing our Courts and Prisons

25th May, 2017

Matthew Groom, Acting Attorney General

Guy Barnett, Minister for Corrections

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to ensuring that all Tasmanians have access to an efficient and effective criminal and civil justice system.

We are better resourcing our courts and prisons and ensuring sentencing options better reflect community expectations.

The 2017-18 Budget includes:

Support for Courts and Legal Centres

The Government has already taken action to address the backlog in Tasmania’s Supreme Court by appointing five acting judges.  We are now building on this by providing an additional funding of $1.9 million over two years to cover court costs associated with extra sittings and support staff. This includes funding for Supreme Court operations as well as the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania.

Record state funding to the legal assistance sector – more than $2.5 million over two years will ensure that our Community Legal Centres and the Legal Aid Commission continue to deliver important legal advice and assistance to the most vulnerable members of our community.

Phasing out of Suspended Sentences

The Government has long held the view that suspended sentences are ineffective and we are committed to gradually phasing them out so the community can have more confidence in the justice system.  We will provide $2.4 million per annum to implement the first tranche of reforms, which includes:

  • The provision for Drug Treatment Orders (DTOs) to be available for matters before the Supreme Court;
  • Providing for deferred sentencing for adult offenders;
  • The provision for a sentencing option of imposing a fine without recording a conviction; and
  • Making minor amendments to the existing drug treatment order provisions.

Increased Prison Capacity

The Tasmanian Prison Service Budget is being increased by a further $4 million per year to cater for more prisoners as a result of our efforts to keep the community safe. New funding of $8.6 million over four years will also enable important infrastructure improvements to occur including:

Increasing capacity in the Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison by an additional 40 cells, build additional pre-release accommodation units and the construction of a new Mother and Baby Unit within the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison. This funding will also cover additional associated staffing costs.

Transitional accommodation and rehabilitation

This year’s Budget also includes funding of $1.4 million over four years to employ parenting and family reintegration facilitators and to provide assistance for transitional accommodation for prisoners.

The Hodgman Liberal Government makes no apology for putting serious and dangerous offenders behind bars, however we are also doing more than ever before to ensure offenders are successfully rehabilitated and reintegrated into society as productive and law-abiding citizens.