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Qld parole review considers victims, drugs

AAP logoAAP 6/09/2016 Jamie McKinnell

A review of Queensland's parole system will consider the right of victims to oppose a prisoner's release and whether drug diversion programs are adequately treating methamphetamine-addicted inmates.

Former solicitor-general Walter Sofronoff QC was last month appointed to head the review after 81-year-old grandmother Elizabeth Kippin was allegedly murdered by a parolee in Townsville.

The state's Corrective Services Commissioner Mark Rallings has since said it was the worst case involving a parolee Queensland has ever seen.

Mr Sofronoff on Wednesday invited those with an interest in parole to write to him with issues for consideration.

He also revealed he's already received letters, including one from a prisoner in north Queensland who was convicted of murder but has refused to acknowledge guilt.

"There's an issue whether that person should be permitted to apply for parole while that state of affairs continues," Mr Sofronoff told ABC radio.

He was also sent a letter from another inmate who acknowledged guilt after a murder conviction and has unsuccessfully applied for bail for the last six years because the victim's family has opposed it.

"That raises an interesting question about the entitlement of victims to oppose parole and the extent to which they can do it," Mr Sofronoff said.

"It's a difficult issue."

Mr Sofronoff will also consider mental health issues and the adequacy of current drug diversion programs, given half of Queensland's prisoners admit to taking methamphetamines in the past year upon incarceration and nine per cent admit to using opiates.

"Meth is a nasty, deadly drug that is like a time bomb waiting to explode," Mr Sofronoff said.

"If a significant portion of them are addicted, then unless there are programs in place to deal with that, it doesn't matter whether you release them on parole, it doesn't matter if you don't release them on parole, there are going to be problems when they come out."

The government is expecting a report by the end of November.

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