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Vic parole crimes down after reforms

AAP logoAAP 27/10/2016 Angus Livingston

Reforms brought in after Adrian Bayley murdered Jill Meagher have led to fewer Victorians on parole committing violent or serious sexual crimes.

Parolees convicted of serious crimes dropped from 60 in 2013/14, to 22 in 2014/15 and to just 13 in 2015/16, the Adult Parole Board's annual report reveals.

The report doesn't say what these crimes were but Sean Christian Price was on parole when he murdered Masa Vukotic as she walked in a park in March 2015.

The reforms came in 2013 after the high profile murders of Ms Meagher and Sarah Cafferkey in 2012, and the killing of Sharon Siermans in 2013, sparked outrage about serious offenders being given parole only to offend again.

"There is some indication that the reforms have reduced the risk that prisoners pose to the community," chairman Judge Peter Couzens says in the report, which was released on Thursday.

"I accept that public confidence in the Adult Parole Board and the parole system as a whole was badly damaged in the aftermath of the tragic cases referred to earlier and that much needs to be done to help restore public confidence in the Board and the parole system."

In 2013/14 there were 60 people convicted of a total of 97 serious violent or sexual offences committed while on parole, with some convicted of more than one offence.

That dropped to 22 people convicted of 38 serious offences in 2014/15 and 13 people convicted of 17 offences in 2015/16.

Former Victorian Coroner Judge Ian Gray praised the reforms in his findings into Ms Cafferkey's death.

"They have entrenched paramountcy of community safety. The reforms are to be commended," Mr Gray said.

The number of parolees in Victoria has almost halved since 2012, dropping from 1763 to 981 in 2016.

Judge Couzens said changes to the Sentencing Act in 2014 to put more offenders on Community Corrections Orders was behind the drop in parole numbers.

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