Corrections Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
Written on the 16 September 2015
1 September 2015
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
I am very pleased to be able to rise to make a brief contribution on the Corrections Legislation Amendment Bill 2015.
As others have highlighted to the chamber this evening, this bill makes a range of administrative amendments and minor amendments to the Corrections Act 1986 and amends the Parole Orders (Transfer) Act 1983, which will validate particular past parole order transfers under the national parole order transfer scheme.I know that others have gone through the major points of the bill in detail. The point I want to make in my contribution is that this bill is building on reforms made by the former government in this area. There were a number of issues with the parole system when the former government came to power in 2010. I commend, as others have done, the former Minister for Crime Prevention, Andrew McIntosh, and his successor, Mr O'Donohue, who continued to implement the reforms of the coalition government.
While researching this bill I came across an article in the Herald Sun of 20 June 2011 that highlights the state of crisis in the parole system at that time. It outlines the major concerns that police had in relation to a number of individuals who had committed offences while on parole, and it looks at the Victoria Police LEAP database, which we know had significant problems yet another bungled project implemented under the previous Labor government that we found ourselves fixing up when we came to power. According to this article, police approached the government in 2002 about problems in accessing parole information, but that request was refused. It states:Senior police were warned of the potential ramifications of the computer deficiency as long ago as 2007.
In fact when it was rectified it was at a cost of just $50 000. The article refers to a leaked police report revealing that seven murders had been committed by people on parole who would have had their parole cancelled had police known they were on parole, and that:the 7 were among 11 parolees charged with murder in Victoria between 1 July 2008 and 17 November 2010.
It was clear that the parole system needed significant reform, and that is exactly what the former government implemented. Minister O'Donohue and the former government as a whole undertook some excellent reforms to clamp down on some of these areas. A new parole system was announced following on from the Callinan report, which was the result of a very thorough inquiry in response to the terrible circumstances faced by our community.
I would like to briefly mention a number of the changes that were made.
They included that serious violent offenders and sex offenders would be categorised and dealt with differently, risk assessment and identification of treatment programs would occur from the start of a sentence, serious violent offenders and sex offenders must complete required treatment and be of good behaviour in prison before being considered for parole, serious violent offenders and sex offenders would face a two-tier process to gain parole, all offenders with sentences of more than three years must apply for parole, all offenders who reoffend while on parole must serve at least half the remaining parole period in prison before being reconsidered for parole and community correctional services would be expanded and strengthened to improve supervision of serious offenders on parole.
These were significant reforms, and there is no doubt that they were much needed. I will not go into the detail of the Callinan report; however, it provided significant guidance and made a number of recommendations that the former government was working to implement. The legislation before us today tidies up the parole system and allows for some minor technical changes that will further enhance the parole system reforms undertaken by the coalition government.