THE QUEENSLAND PAROLE SYSTEM REVIEW

On 16 February, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier and Minister for the Arts announced major reforms to probation and parole services across the state following the Queensland Parole System Review.

The review, conducted by Mr Walter Sofronoff QC, provided 91 recommendations to the Queensland Government, affording the opportunity to reshape and improve the parole system through long-lasting changes to the management and rehabilitation of prisoners and offenders. After consideration by the Government, 89 of the 91 recommendations were supported or supported-in-principle.

“The more effective our parole system is, then the safer the community is from crime,” the Premier said. “These changes are designed to curb crime by being smart on crime and its causes. They are aimed at reducing crime through reducing the risk of reoffending.

“Mr Sofronoff’s report presents a compelling case for change, with the benefits being greater community safety, savings to the public purse and reduced overcrowding in our State’s prisons.”

The report represents the most sweeping changes to the way in which prisoners are dealt with in prison and while they are on parole or probation in recent Queensland Corrective Services’ history. It highlights that effective rehabilitation, reintegration and supervision of prisoners released into the community is crucial in reducing the risk of re-offending.

The Premier said the Government would take immediate steps to:

  • expand the use of GPS monitoring for better surveillance of parolees
  • recruit additional staff and strengthen the Probation and Parole Service, enabling it to provide more effective case management and supervision of parolees
  • expand rehabilitation services for prisoners to address the causes of crime, including drug addiction and mental health issues
  • prepare legislation to provide for “no body, no parole” prison sentences
  • appoint Michael Byrne QC as President-Designate of the Parole Board, who will establish a new fully independent board operating under a new parole process

For further information, the Report and the Government response are available at https://parolereview.premiers.qld.gov.au