Name changes restricted for prisoners

 THE ACT Government has moved to tighten regulations around prisoners changing their names.

Shane Rattenbury

Shane Rattenbury

ACT Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury introduced a bill to the Legislative Assembly today that will require sentenced prisoners and parolees to have the permission of the Justice and Community Safety Directorate’s Director-General to be able to apply for a change of name.

“The Director-General will consider factors such as whether the name change would be used for an unlawful purpose, to evade supervision, to jeopardise another’s safety or would be offensive to a victim of crime,” Mr Rattenbury said today.

A refusal to approve a name change application by the departmental head could be appealed in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, he added.

“The scheme will improve the ability of law enforcement to prevent convicted offenders from changing their name for the purpose of evading parole supervision, obtaining new passports, facilitating the commission of offences or avoiding detection.

“Ensuring that prisoners and parolees can only change their names where appropriate enhances the safety of our community.”

The new scheme follows the introduction of similar schemes in Victoria, Queensland and NSW over the past ten years.

“This best-practice approach recognises that some categories of offenders warrant stricter processes regarding their ability to change their name,” Mr Rattenbury said. “These categories include people sentenced to imprisonment and parolees.”

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