The Palaszczuk Government has introduced the toughest parole laws in the nation for prisoners serving life sentences for the most heinous crimes.
The tough laws target those who kill children and those who commit multiple murders.
Under the proposed legislation, the President of the independent Parole Board Queensland will have the authority to declare that certain prisoners are prohibited from obtaining parole for a period of up to ten years.
And there will be no limit on how many times the President of the independent Parole Board can make such a declaration, meaning that an individual prisoner could face multiple ten-year bans on obtaining parole.
These reforms are aimed at protecting the victim’s families from the trauma of repeated and unnecessary parole applications.
In addition, even if a declaration is not made in relation to a prisoner who falls into the relevant categories, the prisoner will still face a further obstacle to obtaining parole, with the prisoner needing to prove to the Parole Board Queensland that the prisoner does not pose a threat to the community before parole can be granted.
Minister for Police and Corrective Services, Mark Ryan, said the reforms would give Queensland the strongest parole framework in the nation.
“This is about targeting those who commit the worst crimes with laws that protect the victim’s families from unnecessary trauma.
“Those life sentenced prisoners who have killed a child or committed multiple murders have no right to expect they will get parole.
“In fact, they may never get parole.
“And under the legislation we are proposing they may never even get to apply for parole.”
The legislation also includes amendments to the “No Body No Parole” framework to consider a prisoner’s co-operation at an earlier time, and restrict prisoners who have not co-operated from reapplying for parole until they chose to provide new information.
These amendments will also be supported by updated Ministerial Guidelines for the Parole Board Queensland to ensure that the “timeliness” of a prisoner’s co-operation is a significant consideration. These measures intend to incentivise earlier prisoner cooperation to help provide closure to a victim's family and friends sooner.
It means that when determining a “No Body No Parole” matter, the Parole Board Queensland must place greater emphasis on whether the prisoner gave information to authorities in relation to the victim’s location in a timely manner.
Regarding these amendments, Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group Chief Executive Officer, Brett Thompson, said he was pleased that the views of his members had been taken into account.
“I’m especially keen to see a change to the framework around the timeliness of cooperation factor in the Parole Board Queensland’s consideration of No Body No Parole applications.
“I know this is important to our members”.