Bill expanding drug treatment orders to offenders with alcohol dependence tabled in Parliament

Guy Barnett, Attorney General

Today, the Tasmanian Government tabled the Sentencing Amendment (Alcohol Treatment Order) Bill 2024 (The Bill) in the House of Assembly.

The Bill amends the Sentencing Act 1997 so that a court may make a treatment order where an offender has a demonstrated history of alcohol dependence which is linked to their offending.

Currently, treatment orders are limited to offenders with a demonstrated history of illicit drug use.

Attorney-General, Guy Barnett, said that the Bill will expand the use of Drug Treatment Orders under the Court Mandated Diversion program to Drug and Alcohol Treatment Orders.

“These orders use therapeutic interventions and the support of the court to ensure that offenders access the services and treatment necessary to address the issues that contribute to recidivism and relapse,” the Attorney-General said.

“This is an important alternative sentencing option that allows offenders to remain in the community, where they are engaged with services to treat their underlying issues, while simultaneously reducing the negative impact on themselves and their families.

“The Government recognises the important role that court mandated diversion programs have in breaking the cycle of addiction and offending, and the many other positive impacts undertaking and completing the course has on all aspects of life.

“Our 2030 Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future seeks to make Tasmania the best it can be, and this change will allow us to achieve this vision.

“A Bill to make these amendments was tabled prior to the election but was not able to be debated. I look forward to the amendments now progressing through Parliament.”

The Sentencing Act 1997 provides restrictions around the granting of a Drug Treatment Order to ensure they are not used when inappropriate, which will continue to apply to drug and alcohol treatment orders.

The Bill makes amendments to provide for the change in the name of the order from drug treatment order to drug and alcohol treatment order.

The Bill makes other necessary amendments to refer to alcohol dependency, including provisions providing for alcohol testing and updates relevant definitions. A new discretionary program condition is inserted to provide that a Court may order that the offender must not visit locations or classes of locations as specified in the order.

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