Shadow Minister for Corrections Elizabeth Kikkert has called out serious ACT Government shortcomings in parole processes at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC).
The ACT Ombudsman identified serious failings and issues, from policies being out of date and incomplete to cases where detainees were denied parole for reasons they couldn’t fix.
One detainee was refused release due to lacking a residential address but was told housing could not be provided until after release.
“It is a ridiculous situation when a detainee cannot be released because they haven’t got accommodation, particularly when they can’t enter that accommodation because there is no release date,” said Mrs Kikkert.
“The Labor-Greens Government has performed so poorly in this area that, in the absence of official advice for detainees, one inmate created a parole manual to assist fellow detainees in understanding the process.
“The Ombudsman praised this effort and recommended that ACT Corrective Services adapt the document. It is stunning that it fell to an inmate to address this shortcoming and is yet another example of the Corrections Minister outsourcing his responsibilities.”
During Question Time this week, Mrs Kikkert asked the Corrections Minister about this enterprising detainee and why it was that an inmate had to do the minister’s job for him; though he claimed to have read the report, the minister was unable to answer the question.
“We have problems with recidivism and high inmate populations. This government makes the situation worse by not providing a clear path through the parole process,” Mrs Kikkert said.
“Many of the Ombudsman’s 15 recommendations focus on the creation and clarification of policy and procedure, the government agreed with every recommendation.
“This government also committed to a full AMC policy and procedure review in 2018 that still has not been completed, so I am not overly convinced these recommendations will be implemented in good time.
“Our Sentence Management Officers work hard to guide detainees during their time in prison so that they can be released at the earliest possible date and make the most of the limited rehabilitation offered at the AMC.
"The government must provide these officers with better policies and procedures and do so soon,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.