“Prisoners will have a better chance of reintegrating into society and building a better life as a result of new law proposed by ACT,” says ACT’s Corrections spokesperson Toni Severin.
“The Parole (Mandatory Completion of Rehabilitative Programmes) Amendment Bill will require prisoners to complete skills and rehabilitation programmes before they will be considered for parole.
“Prisoners face many barriers to gaining employment post-release. While in prison, they have time on their hands and they should be required to use it. This will enable them to have a better life on release and make it less likely they’ll reoffend.
“Parliament has a responsibility to make our communities safer. We have a fresh opportunity with this Bill to improve lives and reduce victims of crime.
“My Member’s Bill, which is in the Ballot, would stop any prisoner being eligible for parole if they had not completed a programme set in a mandated management plan under the Corrections Act.
“It would apply to every prisoner with a sentence over two months in prison to undertake such a programme and could even speed up release in some circumstances.
“The Bill allows an offender’s next parole hearing to be brought forward if the prison manager considers that the relevant rehabilitative programme has been completed earlier than the specified date.
“A rehabilitative programme is defined as a programme designed to reduce reoffending and includes any medical, psychological, social, therapeutic, cultural, educational, employment-related, rehabilitative or integrative programme.
“This is a constructive change to the law that would improve the lives of offenders and the wider public by lessening the chances of recidivism. It’s the right thing to do.”