Criminals who are awarded damages by the courts for mistreatment while locked-up will have their compensation redirected to the Victims of Crime Fund, under proposed new Marshall Government laws.
The State Liberal Government is considering the move amid an overhaul to the Correctional Services Act, which includes abolishing automatic parole for convicted drug traffickers serving five years or less.
Minister for Police, Correctional Services and Emergency Services, Corey Wingard, said the laws would further priortise victims ahead of prisoners by redirecting funding into the Victims of Crime Fund in relation to compensation payouts.
“Many crimes, such as drug trafficking, do not have direct victims who can make a claim against any compensation that may be paid out to an offender,” Minister Wingard said.
“These new laws will ensure victims are prioritised above offenders when compensation funds become available.”
Currently, victims can make a claim against an offender if compensation of more than $10,000 is paid to a prisoner but if there is no victim or creditor to make claim against the amount, the compensation claim is paid in full to the prisoner.
Under the new laws, if no claim is made, half of the compensation would be used for reintegration and resettlement costs, while the other half would be directed into the Victims of Crime Fund.
The Victims of Crime Fund allows victims to access compensation and to pay for costs associated with their recovery such as counselling and hospital bills.
Prisoners can seek compensation for a range of matters including alleged injuries or loss of property whilst incarcerated.
If they are successful in their claim, and they are awarded damages in a claim against the State, the money may be held in the prisoner compensation quarantine fund for 12 months (initially) for victims (and others) to make claim.