Queensland’s new parole laws pose a risk of indefinite arbitrary detention, say Greens.
The laws, which allow child murderers and serial killers serving life sentences to be denied parole for decades, were passed by Parliament on Tuesday.
Under the legislation, the Chairman of the Queensland Parole Board can prevent these offenders from obtaining early release for up to 10 years at a time.
There is no limit to the number of times the president can make this statement, which Green MP Michael Berkman said could lead to arbitrary detention.
“These completely unwarranted new parole laws got the support of everyone except the Greens last night – the worst part is I’m not even surprised,” he told AAP.
“Labor is increasingly resorting to this kind of press conference politics in a desperate attempt to overcome the ‘tough against crime’ nonsense of the LNP.”
The commission will have a presumption against parole, with serial killers and convicted child murderers having to prove that they do not pose a threat to the community before release is granted.
Those who do not cooperate with authorities investigating their crimes may also be blocked, while requests for parole from inmates who cooperate will be more favorably received.
Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan said the laws did not change any existing facts.
He said parole was not a right or an automatic right for inmates.
“There will always be the possibility that the prisoner will never be paroled,” Ryan told Parliament on Tuesday evening.
“Nothing in this framework changes that initial sentencing decision.
“These new laws aim to protect those who have endured the pain and suffering of losing a loved one as a result of the offenses committed, by reducing the further trauma that the parole process can cause.”
Mr Berkman said the government should focus on policies to reduce the prison population – such as addressing homelessness, poverty and drug addiction – before making it easier to keep people locked up.
“Rather than actually addressing the parole crisis, the government has given itself an extension, pushing the boundaries as prisons remain dangerously overcrowded,” he said.
“The longer people stay in prison, the harder it is for them to get back on their feet and the more likely they are to reoffend.”
National Liberal Party MP Dan Purdie, a former police officer, strongly supported the laws on Tuesday night.
He initially sparked a debate over parole after filing a petition with 72,000 signatures in June denying parole to Barrie John Watts, who was jailed for the 1987 rape and murder of 12-year-old Sian Kingi.
“In these few cases, the community is within its rights to demand that those convicted of such heinous acts as the murder of Sian do not have such regular access to a request for parole,” he said. he declares.
“Indeed (…) the sentencing judge basically said that in this case, life should mean life.”
Australian Associated Press