Premier announces review into parole operations

DAVID SIMON

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Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk and Minister for Corrective Services, Bill Byrne address a press conference in Brisbane today. Source: Supplied

Queensland Premier, Anastasia Palaszczuk today announced a review into the operation of parole following the alleged murder of an 81-year-old woman in Townsville last month.

Speaking at a press conference in Brisbane, the Premier was flanked by Minister for Corrective Services, Bill Byrne.

Ms Palaszczuk assured Queenslanders the current Government would act swiftly to get the bottom of the issue.

“My Government is determined to get to the bottom of what happened,” the Premier said.

Mr Byrne lamented the Premier’s discontent at the murder and the fashion in which criminals who are sentenced for violent crimes are allowed back onto Queensland streets.

“This is the worst case in Queensland history where a parolee has acted like that,” Mr Byrne said.

“What happened in Townsville is nothing short of a tragedy.”

“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.”

The Premier announced Walter Sofronoff QC will conduct the review and is expected 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,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

In announcing the review, the premier released the terms of reference for the review, which include but are not limited to:

  • The effectiveness of the parole board’s current operations, including decision making, structure and membership;
  • The transparency of parole board decision making;
  • The effectiveness of the legislative framework for parole, including court ordered parole in Queensland;
  • Factors that increase offenders successful completion of parole and reintegration into the community include:
    • Effective supervision;
    • The availability and effectiveness of programs, services, and interventions including for mental health disorders and drug and/or alcohol abuse;

The review also follows the horrendous rape and murder of Joan Ryther who’s killer, Andrew Michael Burke was yesterday sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 20 years.

Ms Rythers partially clothed body was found just 100 metres from her workplace in May of 2013, the morning after she and her unborn child were brutally murdered.

 

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