NSW prisoners could be freed in bid to halt coronavirus spread

| 24.03,20. 04:00 PM |

NSW prisoners could be freed in bid to halt coronavirus spread

PHOTO: Any prisoners released would face strict parole conditions. (ABC News: Alkira Reinfrank)

Some of the state's 14,000 prisoners could be released as the NSW Government steps up its response to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin could be allowed to grant parole to certain inmates based on the threat of COVID-19 under proposed laws to be considered by Parliament.

The extraordinary powers would apply to low-risk and vulnerable prisoners, who would be subject to strict parole conditions.

That would include home detention, electronic monitoring and a pre-arranged schedule of movements.

Introducing the bill to Parliament today, Attorney-General Mark Speakman said it was designed to protect the health of inmates and staff.

"The bill seeks to provide us with powers we'll hope we never have to use but the evolution of the pandemic may require it," he said.

"This flexibility is needed to give the commissioner the capacity to protect the health of inmates and correctional services staff and ensure the good order and security of correctional premises through the emergency."

Vulnerable inmates include the elderly or those with a pre-existing medical condition, while the nature of the offence committed and the time left on a sentence would also be considered.

Those serving sentences for murder, terrorism or a serious sex offence will not be eligible for early release, nor will those serving a life sentence for any other serious offence.

Before making such an order, the commissioner will have to assess the risk to community safety and check whether the prisoner has been convicted of domestic violence charges.

The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill also allows the pre-recording of evidence to reduce the number of people having to attend courts across the state.

According to figures released by the Bureau of Crime Statistics in February, the number of people in jail across the state rose by almost 500 people last year to nearly 14,000.


(Votes: 0)

Other News

Minister admits Centrelink stuff-up, says 1 million may have lost their jobs Woman who was passenger on cruise ship dies from coronavirus Milestone meeting with the peak Muslim humanitarian and charitable organisations in Australia Queensland to impose border controls after recording highest daily coronavirus tally Don’t panic: Pictures show why you don’t need to stockpile sanitiser Sydney pedestrian crossings changed amid coronavirus crisis Over $1 million in cannabis plants seized by ACT police A N I C: Funeral and burial arrangements during the Coronavirus NSW schools stay open.. State records 136 new coronavirus Virgin waives fees for Australians returning home as Rex flights are confined to Queensland Third man charged with terror offences on the NSW South Coast Canberra schools are shutting their doors to most students from tomorrow, here's what you need to know MyGov website crashes, huge queues outside Centrelink offices as coronavirus shutdown deadline passes in some states AFIC :RE.. Far-Right Terrorism Two injured after plane crashes in bushland in NSW Immediate virus test kit needs met: PM NSW, Victoria, ACT move to comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services amid coronavirus pandemic A Queensland school has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitised after an after-school worker tested positive to coronavirus Police have the power to enforce coronavirus rules — in public and in your own home Four cruise ships given special permission to dock in Australia despite 30-day coronavirus ban Federal Government's second stimulus package offers $66 billion worth of measures for coronavirus-hit economy Australia Post remains open, limits human contact Govt implements tougher restrictions for indoor venues Labor calls for increased coronavirus testing Australia's borders could be closed for six months Australian COVID-19 cases rise above 870 NAB allows personal home loan customers to defer repayments for six months 'Keep your distance': Health Minister's warning to beach lovers after coronavirus advice ignored at Bondi Most Australian coronavirus cases coming from USA: Scott Morrison Thief steals jacket from Melbourne firefighters only to require rescuing