The Law Society of NSW supports efforts to protect the community from high-risk offenders and the ongoing threat of terrorism.
President of The Law Society of NSW Pauline Wright said while the Society supports these efforts on a national basis, there were serious concerns about the recent extension of continuing detention orders in NSW, which are now proposed to be recognised nationally.
"The Law Society continues to oppose the use of continuing detention and extended supervision orders should be used with caution," Ms Wright said.
"Continuing detention orders are extraordinary measures that are outside of the judicial sentencing framework. In a liberal democracy like Australia, people should only be imprisoned for crimes they have committed, or if they have had bail refused after being charged with a serious crime pending their trial.
"Imprisonment should be limited to offenders who present only the most serious risk to society. To keep people in jail after they have served their sentence goes against the basic principle that we should only be punished for things we have done, not things we might do in the future."
Ms Wright said these measures could amount to indefinite detention and therefore offended the principle of proportionality that the punishment should be proportionate to crime.
"Accurately predicting the future behaviour of an offender is notoriously difficult, no matter the expertise the person making the prediction," she said.
"Punishment for potential future acts is not an appropriate way to manage behaviour or reduce recidivism in our already overcrowded jails.
"Resources would be better spent on programs in jails to properly equip people to fit back into society when they finish their sentence, and on supervision programs following release."
The Law Society of NSW, Marianna Papadakis T: 02 9926 0288 | M: 0413 440 699 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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