Victoria’s most serious young criminals will soon be tracked with electronic monitoring bracelets to ensure they stick to their parole conditions, the State Government has announced.
Legislation will be introduced into Parliament to give the Youth Parole Board of Victoria new powers to order offenders from the age of 16 to wear a tracking bracelet, or be subject to mandatory drug and alcohol tests.
Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos said it would be the first time tracking devices would be used on youth offenders in the state.
“Electronic monitoring will be a continuous reminder to some of our most serious young offenders that they have to comply with their conditions,” she said.
“If they don’t keep to their curfews, or stay in certain areas, we will know.
“If they’re taking drugs and alcohol, which we know is a big contributor to re-offending, we will know.”
Ms Mikakos said the new laws would apply to young offenders who commit serious offences, such as aggravated home invasion, aggravated car jacking, and culpable driving causing death.
If the electronic tracker registers that a young offender has breached their parole conditions, their parole could be revoked.
“We’ve never had these measures before,” she said.
Ms Mikakos said the change was part of wider moves to crack down on youth crime, including longer sentences for serious young offenders.
‘Too little, too late’
Opposition spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said the Government was “trying to play catch-up” on dealing with youth crime.
“It’s too little too late,” she said.
“We’ve had a serious crime problem in Victoria, and a significant youth crime problem under [Premier] Daniel Andrews in the last three and a half years.”
Fitzroy Legal Service’s Meghan Fitzgerald said she had some concerns about the scheme.
“The devil’s in the detail,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“But we would say there’s been an encroachment on peoples privacy in a number of ways and it will depend very much on the way that it’s actually operationalised and what types of breaches would constitute a reason to be re-imprisoned.
“If it can reduce the number of young people who are in prison, by creating a monitoring system, that would be a positive.
“If it’s going to ultimately increase the number of young people in prison through breaches that are not worthy of that type of response then that would be a negative.”
Police crackdown on gun violence
Victoria Police, meanwhile, has issued a number of firearm prohibition orders to people with a history of violence they believe could pose a risk to the community.
The new police powers came into effect last month and allow police the right to search properties and vehicles.
Police announced on Wednesday it had issued more than 50 firearm prohibition orders to a range of people, including members of outlaw motorcycle and Middle Eastern crime gangs, and other criminal groups.
Anyone served with an order is banned from owning or using a firearm, and from entering certain places such as gun dealerships and shooting ranges.
So far, police have found ammunition, silencers and drugs, but no guns during searches.