31 December 2020

Parole applications drop but inmates more likely to get out

| Dominic Giannini
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Steel bars

Just under 1,000 inmates applied for parole in 2019-20. Photo: File.

Fewer inmates were granted parole in 2019-20 but those prisoners who applied were more likely to have their applications granted, according to data from the Justice and Community Services Directorate.

Just under 1,000 prisoners applied for parole – down 200 from the previous year – but more than 80 per cent were successful with their applications.

This is up significantly from 70 per cent and 62 per cent in the preceding years.

Parole application matters decreased by just over 16 per cent compared to the prior year, largely due to the limitations on the Board to hold sittings, the Directorate’s annual report noted.

“The significant increase in successful parole orders is in part due to … the services to assist offenders prepare for release and also post-release support for offenders are improving as a result of a range of government initiatives,” it said.

READ ALSO ‘People will die’: prisoners paint depressing picture of life inside AMC

The decrease in parole applications was also offset by an increase in applications for intensive correction orders (ICO), a type of prison sentence served in the community.

There were almost 300 ICO applications in 2019-20, up from 205 and 154 the previous years.

There were 201 offenders subject to parole or ICO in the ACT as of 30 June 2020.

The ACT has the highest recidivism rate of 71 per cent for offenders returning to ACT corrections – including prison and community corrections – which is well above the national rate of 55 per cent, according to a 2020 Productivity Commission report.

To help reduce recidivism, the ACT Government is implementing its plan to reduce the rate in the ACT by 25 per cent by 2025.

The total number of prisoners in the ACT decreased by 5 per cent to 449 from 30 June 2019 to 30 June 2020.

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