Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie
Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie Cade Mooney

Bleijie wants more offenders jailed under regime changes

QUEENSLAND'S first law officer is confident there is enough room in the state's prisons to accommodate more offenders likely to be jailed under proposed sentencing regime changes.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says he is putting community safety first as he moves to abolish court-ordered parole and suspended sentences.

He said community feedback from across Queensland was disbelief, asking  "how can someone be sentenced to jail and not serve any time in jail at all".

The move has already come under attack from civil libertarians, Queensland barristers and the Opposition which put the measures in place in 2006.

"Sometimes ... the only way you can adequately keep the community safe from some of these predators, particularly sexual offenders, is to have them in prison for a very, very long time and off our streets," Mr Bleijie said.

There are about 3000 offenders in Queensland currently on court-ordered parole.

Mr Bleijie said 40% of those people never saw the inside of a jail cell.

"There is no incentive for the prisoner to behave, there is no motivation for the prisoner to complete rehabilitation programs," he said.

"I think Queenslanders are then saying enough's enough, they're fed up with the soft law and order approach."

Mr Bleijie said people should be sent to prison and their release based on their behaviour inside and whether they present an acceptable risk to the community.

A judge can order parole release for sentences under three years and suspended sentences for those under five years.

The offender could serve part of the sentence with a certain release date or could be released immediately without serving time so the sentence hangs over their head.

The Queensland Bar Association has issued a statement saying it "can see no need or benefit in the abolition or restriction upon suspended sentences or court-ordered parole".

The barrister association instead advocates for broader sentencing options for judges.

"It is true, of course, that some offenders breach their suspended sentences or their parole orders," the statement read.

"It is equally true that many offenders do not breach their suspended sentences and do comply with their parole orders.

"Those offenders achieve rehabilitation and that must be for the public benefit."

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties vice-president Terry O'Gorman told News Ltd he disputed Mr Bleijie's claim court-ordered parole was not working.

''The more you say no more second chances the more you push up recidivism,'' he said.

Mr Bleijie asked the civil libertarians to come back to him when they had their house robbed, had a family member beaten or where the victims of some other crime and see if they felt the same way.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said she hoped this was "a genuine effort to stop repeat offences and not just a chance for the government to look tough without achieving worthwhile outcomes".

Ms Palaszczuk attacked, again, the Newman Government's decision to shut down the independent Sentencing Advisory Council last year.

"Their job was to provide workable sentencing guidelines for magistrates and judges that meet community expectations," she said.

Mr Bleijie said the board was made up predominately of public servants which he already had ready access to.



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