10 Apr 2012

Civil detention legislation to go ahead

4:34 pm on 10 April 2012

The Government is proceeding with its plans for legislation that will allow some high risk offenders to continue to be detained past the end of their prison sentence.

The National Party campaigned on the introduction of civil detention orders, which primarily target child sex offenders, at last year's general election.

The Government says the orders would be available by application to the High Court for people who've been clinically assessed as being at imminent risk of serious sexual or violent reoffending.

Once an order is granted the offender could be held in custody, even if their sentence has finished, until the Parole Board believes they are safe to be released.

The Government says the current extended supervision orders are not the best way to deal with these offenders, and a new, stand-alone law is being drafted.

It says the legislation is not designed to deal with any, one case, and its progress through the House won't be dictated by, for example, any offender's imminent release.

The civil detention orders are expected to apply to between five and 12 offenders over a 10-year period.

The Government says a bill will be introduced some time this year.


The Labour Party wants to see details of the Government's proposed legislation to detain some high risk offenders past the end of their prison sentence.

Labour justice spokesperson Charles Chauvel says the Government needs to demonstrate why it needs these orders.

He says his party needs to be satisfied that the civil detention orders can not be satisfied by already existing measures such as the extended supervision orders.

The Green Party, meanwhile, says there are already options for dealing with high risk offenders nearing the end of their prison term, and it is not convinced that new legislation is needed.

The party says extended supervision orders already allow high risk offenders to be actively monitored for up to ten years once they are released.

The ACT Party says it is pleased the Government is proceeding with the legislation.

ACT leader John Banks says he is more interested in the civil liberties of law-abiding citizens than convicted criminals.