GPS tracking to expanded to monitor parolees

Published Thursday, 16 February, 2017 at 09:05 AM


Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
The Honourable Mark Ryan

The Palaszczuk Government will tighten and toughen supervision of parolees, with an expanded use of GPS tracking, as part of its overhaul of the parole and probation system in Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

The Premier said the Government has committed $35.15 million over six years to expand GPS monitoring technology to monitor up to 500 parolees across Queensland. It is a criminal offence for an offender to remove a GPS tracking device.

“We have accepted the Sofronoff review recommendation that Queensland Corrective Services further develop its GPS tracking capabilities so the Parole Board could require GPS tracking and monitoring based on the assessment risk of each parolee,” the Premier said.

Police and Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan said GPS monitoring was currently used for serious sex offenders in conjunction with intensive case management strategies, to reinforce the strict supervision provided by Queensland Corrective Services (QCS).

“I’ve been a long-time advocate for using new and innovative technology to keep Queenslanders safe,” he said.

“The expanded GPS monitoring of parolees provides an extra set of eyes to protect our communities.

“These GPS monitors will also ensure any curfews are strictly met and will enhance the supervision of parolees. They will no longer have to make telephone calls or conduct physical checks at someone’s home. Better surveillance will deliver big benefits.”

“Under our blueprint for reform, we will boost community safety, break the cycle of re-offending and make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The GPS tracking will be rolled out in high-risk locations, identified by the Sofronoff review, and include Townsville and the Gold Coast.

The GPS devices are tamper-resistant. Breaking or cutting the GPS straps generates an immediate critical alert to the QCS Central Monitoring Station.

If an offender attempts to access, or passes through, an exclusion zone, an immediate alert is raised by the system. Critical alerts are escalated to the Queensland Police Service for response in conjunction with QCS. These joint responses also involve local community and media notifications.

As at 31 January 2017, the new devices were being used to monitor 99 high risk sexual offenders with offender monitoring requirements across the State.

In response to the Not Now, Now Ever report into domestic and family violence, the Government has agreed to implement all recommendations, including for “trials the use of GPS monitoring for high risk perpetrators of domestic and family violence”.