Seminar: Queensland Parole Board

Seminar: The Queensland Parole Board

Friday 7 December 2018
Queensland Corrective Services Academy

Welcome, Introduction
Michael Byrne QC. President, Queensland Parole Board

Parole – then, now, soon
Peter Shields. Deputy President, Queensland Parole Board

On 3 July 2017, the Queensland Government established the Parole Board Queensland (the Board) in response to recommendations made by the Queensland Parole System Review conducted by Mr Walter Sofronoff QC. The Board operates as an independent statutory authority to ensure that transparent evidence-based parole decisions are made which are objective and not dependent upon the authorities responsible for the case management and supervision of prisoners. As an independent statutory authority, the Board has the power to grant parole orders and amend, suspend or cancel a court ordered parole order or a board ordered parole order. Parole is not a privilege or entitlement, it is a method developed to prevent re-offending. When making parole decisions, the Board’s highest priority will always be the safety of the community.

View PowerPoint [PDF]

Taking account of mental illness in Parole Board decisions
Beverley Russell. Professional Board Member (Health), Queensland Parole Board

As recommended by the Sofronoff Review, a number of full-time professional board members with legal or clinical qualifications were appointed to the Parole Board Queensland. The purpose of the fulltime members is to improve the quality of decision-making, bring greater consistency to decisions and increase the ability of the Board to decide matters in a timely manner. In particular, the “health” member is required to provide expertise in relation to health and mental health-related matters. The role includes establishing and maintaining relationships between the Parole Board Queensland and the health system to improve communication and collaboration with the goal of ensuring the best possible outcome for the person applying for parole whilst prioritising public safety.

Probation and Parole – moving forward
Sarah Hyde. General Manager, Probation and Parole Services, Queensland Corrective Services

Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) is responsible for the management of over 20,500 prisoners subject to either imprisonment (parole) or community based orders including probation, community service and intensive corrections order. Probation and Parole supervises offenders across seven regions, 34 district offices, 11 permanently staffed reporting centres and more than 100 reporting centres. Over the last six years, there has been a 40% increase in offenders under supervision in the community. Whilst this growth has presented enormous challenges to the service delivery model of Probation and Parole, it has also presented an opportunity to explore improved ways of reducing recidivism to ensure a safer community. This session will highlight some of these opportunities and initiatives.

The Queensland Prison Mental Health Service
Tamara Smith. Senior Clinical Co-ordinator, Prison Mental Health Service, Queensland Health

With over 750 open patients, the Prison Mental Health Service (PMHS) provides in-reach service of psychological intervention, duel diagnosis, indigenous mental health and transitional support with co-ordination of specialised treatment for mental illness to nine prisons in S-E Queensland. The state-wide computerised records (CIMHA) are accessible online to all mental health personnel including PMHS clinicians in correctional centres. By the “classified patient” provisions of the Mental Health Act (2016) Qld, remandees and sentenced prisoners who develop serious mental illness which cannot be optimally managed in custody, can be transferred to area mental health services for treatment. The PMHS also co-ordinates the care and treatment of mentally ill persons transitioning from custody to the community. With the patient’s authorisation, PMHS clinicians can provide a report to the Parole Board which outlines the proposed follow-up plan.

View PowerPoint [PDF]

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