On its commencement, the new act will mean Victoria's parolees will be subject to cancellation of parole should they receive an interstate or overseas prison sentence whilst on parole. The Adult Parole Board's power to compel production of documents or attendance of witnesses is codified and procedural changes to the Board are made, while the power of prison Governors to monitor prisoners electronically is made explicit. Victoria Police will have an additional 12 months to commence proceedings against a parolee for breach of parole conditions under amendments to the Corrections Act 1986 (Corrections Act).
The Bill also amend the Corrections Act to codify the powers of prison Governors, the Adult Parole Board and Victoria Police.
Interstate Prison Sentences against Parolees
Adult Parole Board's power to compel evidence
In relation to taking evidence, the Bill confirms the Board is not a court and is not bound by the rules of evidence. However, the Board may require a person who attends under a notice to attend, to give evidence on oath or affirmation.
In the absence of a reasonable excuse, it is an offence for a person to fail to comply with a notice to produce or notice to attend, potentially attracting a term of imprisonment or fine.
Electronic monitoring of prisoners in prisons
The current s 23, which gives a prison officer general powers to give an order to a prisoner for the security or good order of the prison or the safety or welfare of the prisoner or other persons, is not affected by the new provision.
Time frame for commencing proceedings for breach of parole conditions
To prevent the time limit of 12 months resulting in some breach proceedings being statute barred because a breach of parole conditions may not be readily apparent before the 12 months elapses, the time limit is extended to 2 years. This will allow for a criminal investigation to evolve over time, and for Victoria Police to await the outcome of court proceedings related to other offences.
Among other changes, the Bill will also permit the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to authorise departmental officers to perform the roles of a community corrections officer, regional manager and secretary to the Board.