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SA police chief defends home detention

AAP logoAAP 31/10/2016

South Australia's police commissioner has defended the state's new home detention sentencing for non-violent criminals, saying it improves their chance of rehabilitation while still punishing them.

But Grant Stevens has called for a common-sense approach when applying the sentencing option.

"I think home detention sentencing is a viable option for people who have committed an offence that doesn't involve violence," he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

"It reduces the cost on the system. It increases the person's likelihood of rehabilitation. But it still puts sanctions on them that prevent them from going about their daily lives.

"And that's got to be the outcome here - that they are punished for the offence they've committed."

There has been hot debate over the state laws since they came into effect in June, making some offenders eligible to be sentenced to home detention rather than sent to jail.

Some pundits have suggested they have resulted in judges and magistrates handing out soft sentences or providing offenders too much freedom.

One case that has garnered interest is of a convicted fraudster who wants to be allowed to remove his electronic home detention anklet while playing football because other players might stigmatise him.

Former football coach Lindsay Bassani has already been given exemptions allowing him to drink alcohol while serving his 14-month prison term at home with his wife.

"I would be hopeful that when any determination is made on a proposition like that, we fall on the right side of common sense," Mr Stevens said.

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