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Jail terms To Increase- Ranns Law
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Ranns Law Targets Repeat Offenders



LAWS to allow judges to impose longer jail sentences on serious repeat offenders will be unveiled in Parliament today.
The new laws will give judges the odiscretionary power to declare people "serious repeat offenders" so they can be locked up longer.
Premier Mike Rann said yesterday the move would help bring down the state's crime rates and make the streets safer.
"While they are locked away they won't be invading our homes, selling illegal drugs or burning down buildings," Mr Rann said,
"I am confident that this attack on the worst criminals will bring down crime rates and make our streets safer."
Mr Rann said statistics showed most crimes were committed by a very small percentage of criminals.
"We intend to take those recidivists off the streets and then keep them off for much longer periods," he said.
'Longer Prison Terms For Repeat offences'
Mr Rann said if the laws had been in effect last year they would have helped put away 34 criminals, or 10 per cent of serious offenders, for longer jail terms.
Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said not only would serious repeat offenders "cop tougher sentencing" but they would also be made to serve a larger proportion of their jail term before parole could be considered.
''We are making sure the courts have the ability to make life harder for criminals while making South Australians feel safer by getting the culprits off the streets." Mr Atkinson said.
A serious repeat offender is defined as someone who must be convicted of at least three offences which are punishable by a maximum five-year jail term or more. Those offences should have arisen from three separate incidents and have resulted in imprisonment.
The declaration of a serious repeat offender will not apply to young offenders and courts will have the discretion to decide whether or not it should be applied to those who meet the legislated criteria.
Mr Atkinson said once a person was declared a repeat offender, the court could impose a sentence that was more than proportional to the seriousness of the particular offence,
He said the non-parole period that was set must also be at least 80 per cent of the length of the head sentence.
Under the proposed new laws, a serious repeat offender facing a 10-year jail sentence would have a fixed non-parole period of eight years while a five-year jail sentence would at tract a four-year non-parole period.


Adelaide Advertiser (Feb 2003)
Greg Kelton-State Political Reporter






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