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Victims' advocate backs SA home detention

AAP logoAAP 31/08/2016

Putting offenders who pose little risk to the community in home detention may mean more victims of fraud are paid back, a victims' advocate says.

From Thursday SA courts are able to sentence adult offenders to home detention, after new laws were passed in May to improve the rehabilitation of offenders.

Previously home detention has only been allowed in the youth court or for ill adults, or as a form of release for adults who had already spent time in jail.

SA Victims' Rights Commissioner Michael O'Connell says the move could help meet the needs of crime victims, particularly victims of fraud.

"There are often victims who cannot get their compensation or their restitution from the offender because the offender has been put in prison, and they are left feeling that they are paying twice," he told ABC radio on Thursday.

"They are paying because they are a victim of the crime and they are paying as a taxpayer to keep that person in prison, as they often perceive it, sitting in a cell doing nothing.

"Whereas they could in fact be detained within their home, able to work Monday to Friday, earn some money to support their own family but also to help clear their debt to the victim as well."

Attorney-General John Rau said home detention offenders would face rigorous monitoring and the justice system would prioritise community safety.

"We want to see serious, dangerous offenders such as people guilty of violence and sex offences do more prison time to keep us all safe," he said.

"But we also want to ensure that offenders who pose a low risk to the community are given the best chance of rehabilitation."

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