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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Bill Byrne

    Cabinet endorses immediate action and wide-ranging review of parole

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Bill Byrne

    Tuesday, August 09, 2016

    Cabinet endorses immediate action and wide-ranging review of parole

    The Palaszczuk Government has agreed to immediate actions and terms of reference for a review on the operation of parole following the alleged murder of an elderly Townsville woman by a man on parole late last month.

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Corrective Services Minister Bill Byrne said Cabinet had endorsed the expansion of the role of the existing Office of the Chief Inspector within Queensland Corrective Services to investigate incidents involving offenders on parole, and the supervision and management of parole generally.

    “Elizabeth was a much-loved member of her community and my heart goes out to her family and friends,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    “This case has affected me personally, and I know it’s affected many Queenslanders. My Government is determined to get to the bottom of what happened.

    “We will immediately grant the Chief Inspector expanded powers to investigate incidents involving offenders on parole. 

    “The Chief Inspector will also examine the supervision and management of parole generally including inspections of probation and parole services to make sure it meets international and national standards, as well as examining potential enhancements to the operation of the probation and parole system.

    “Whether to make the expansion of the Chief Inspector’s powers permanent will be considered through the review.

    “Community safety is paramount. Our system of parole must reduce the risk of reoffending by offenders, who are under supervision at the end of their sentence and support their reintegration into the community.”

    Minister Byrne said the review is about looking at methods that can be introduced to align the decision making of our corrective services system with the changing nature of our society.

    “What happened in Townsville was nothing short of a tragedy,” Minister Byrne said.

    “As a government and more broadly as a community, we need to look at what is taking place in our society that has a direct impact on the safety of all of our residents.

    “Unfortunately, in the past 10 years, society has changed and the increase in anti-social behaviour such as drug use and the type of drugs available, is impacting on the way our systems need to operate.

    “That’s why we have expanded the Chief Inspector’s powers and initiated this review.”

    The Premier said the review would be conducted by Walter Sofronoff QC, who has been asked to report back to the Premier by the end of November.

    “Mr Sofronoff is one of Queensland’s, if not Australia’s, leading legal experts. I have no doubt he will do a thorough, forensic examination of the state’s parole system.

    “Not only will he examine this particular case, but he will also examine the best practice in parole systems across Australia and New Zealand and seek input from organisations working with victims and offenders, as well as experts and researchers.”

    The terms of reference for the review include:

    • the effectiveness of the parole boards’ current operations including decision making, structure and membership;
    • the transparency of parole board decision making;
    • the adequacy of existing accountability mechanisms for the parole boards and the parole system generally, and other mechanisms that to ensure parole board decisions appropriately address risk to the community and victims, particularly women, and successful offender re-integration, including consideration of the independent Inspectorate recommended in the Callinan Review of the Victorian parole system;
    • the factors that would increase offenders’ successful completion of parole and reintegration into the community and enhance community safety including, in particular:

    -effective supervision, management and monitoring

    -the availability and effectiveness of programs, services and interventions including for mental health disorders and drug and/or alcohol abuse

    • the effectiveness of the legislative framework for parole, including court ordered parole, in Queensland.

    In conducting the review, Mr Sofronoff will:

    • examine and have regard to best practice in parole systems operating in other Australasian jurisdictions, particularly regarding effective ways to manage risk when releasing a person on parole; and
    • seek input from relevant experts, including those with knowledge of and experience of the criminal justice system, organisations working with offenders, victims’ organisations, and academic researchers.

     

    Media contact: Premier’s office – 3719 7000

    Byrne’s office – 3035 8300