Home Detention (NSW)
Home detention no longer exists as a standalone sentencing order in New South Wales, having been repealed on 24 September 2018. However, it may still be imposed as a condition of an intensive corrections order (ICO). This article outlines how home detention operates in NSW.
What is home detention?
Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect, the jail sentence is served at the defendant’s own address rather than in jail. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring.
Electronic Monitoring is commonly known as an “ankle bracelet.” The person will be fitted with a device that tracks their movements. This does not mean that they are confined to the home at all times, however, they must remain at the property unless engaged in activities approved or arranged by a supervisor.
Home detention orders are limited to a maximum period of 18 months. This includes any time that the court may order to be spent on parole.
Sentencing Assessment Report
Prior to sentencing for serious matters, the court will order a Sentencing Assessment Report (SAR) and you will be required to attend an interview with Community Corrections to assess your suitability for an alternative to a term of imprisonment. This report will be reviewed by the court on sentence as a guide but is not binding.
Before an order is made, the court must be satisfied that, having considered all possible alternatives, no penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate
If your lawyer can satisfy the court that it should consider imposing an alternative to jail, such as an ICO with a home detention condition, the court will adjourn the matter so that you can be assessed as to whether you are suitable. This will involve a further interview and report from Community Corrections.
Suitability Of Offender
It is important to recognise that once a term of imprisonment has been ordered by the court, the court cannot subsequently change that order and decide that an alternative to imprisonment is now available. This means that if you are assessed as unsuitable for home detention, the likelihood that a full-time custodial sentence increases significantly.
Home detention may not be available for certain offences, for persons with certain offences on their criminal history or in certain circumstances where the person is to reside with an alleged victim. It is important that legal advice is obtained in this respect.
There are a number of conditions that are imposed as standard with a home detention order, some of which are:
- That the person be of good behaviour;
- That they reside only at approved premises;
- That they remain at premises unless for approved activities or danger;
- That they submit to searches;
- That they do not consume alcohol or non-prescribed drugs;
- That they submit to breath and urine testing;
- That they inform their employer of the home detention and authorise contact between employer and supervisor.
Breaching An Order
If you breach a home detention order the Parole Board will decide whether to revoke the order. If they do revoke the order it is likely that you will serve any un-served portion of the sentence in full-time jail.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.