DANGEROUS sex offenders will face mandatory jail time if they remove or tamper with their electronic monitoring bracelet under planned new laws announced by Queensland Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie today.
Those who secure a person with an impairment of the mind for prostitution will also face tougher penalties.
Mr Bleijie said the moves were in line with a the Government's pre-election pledge to make Queensland the safest place to raise a family.
"This is about protecting our community and coming down hard on dangerous offenders who think they can cut and run," Mr Bleijie said.
"Dangerous sex offenders who are released on supervision orders are fitted with GPS bracelets for very good reasons.
"They enable us to keep a close eye on them, 24 hours a day seven days a week, to ensure the community is kept safe.
"Under the current softer legislation introduced by Labor, the most serious charge that can be laid against offenders who tamper or cut off their electronic bracelets is wilful damage, basically vandalism. That does not reflect the seriousness of their actions. Since 2011, five offenders have been charged with removing their devices.
"Under upcoming Newman Government reforms, sex offenders who remove or tamper with their bracelets will be sentenced to one year's mandatory jail time, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
"This will be a strong deterrent for offenders who abscond and it will also ensure that those who do so will go back to prison.
"It sends a strong message to sex offenders that we are watching them and that we will not tolerate any attempts to breach their conditions.
Previous laws to keep dangerous sex offenders behind bars failed when they hit the court system, with the well documented case of repeat sex offender Robert John Fardon proving an embarrassment for the government when he was released on home detention.
Fardon was ordered to wear a GPS tracking device, amid myriad other strict conditions, under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act.
Mr Bleijie also announced offenders who procured a child or a person with an impairment of the mind for prostitution would also face increased penalties.
"The kind of people who would exploit innocent children and people with mental disabilities deserve tough sentences," Mr Bleijie said.
"The maximum penalty will be increased from 14 years in prison to 20 years. The offence will also be classified as a 'serious violent offence', meaning an offender will have to serve 80 per cent of his or her sentence before being eligible for parole.
"These reforms will be introduced into Parliament later this year.
"For too long the scales of justice have weighed too heavily in favour of the offender, not the victim, but we are changing that.
"The Government is currently looking into further ways Queensland's anti-sex offender laws can be strengthened, on top of extensive reforms it has already implemented.
"Within just 20 months we have brought in some of the toughest legislation in the country.
"Our two strike policy means repeat child sex offenders now face mandatory life in prison.
"If they are convicted of a sexual crime punishable by life imprisonment and then commit a like offence after being released, they will receive mandatory life imprisonment and will not be eligible for parole for 20 years."
Other reforms include:
- A new offence of grooming a child under 16 years, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment
- Increased maximum sentence for offences against children with a mental impairment from 14 years to life imprisonment
- Increased maximum sentence for child exploitation material offences from 5 years to 14 years imprisonment
- Increased maximum sentence for procurement of a child from 5 years to up to 14 years imprisonment
"These types of heinous crimes require tough laws and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure our kids are safe," Mr Bleijie said.