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Auditor-General Shows Urgent Need For More Probation Officers

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Auditor-General Shows Urgent Need For More Probation Officers

"The Auditor-General's review of how offenders on parole are being managed shows the government needs to take urgent steps to increase the number of probation officers," says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

A report issued today by Auditor General, Kevin Brady, says the Corrections Department "has around 10% fewer probation officers than it needs to manage offenders in keeping with parole requirements."

"The Auditor General says this shortage of probation officers has a significant effect on Corrections ability to manage offenders on parole," says Richard Wagstaff.

"Our information is that this shortage of staff means probation officers are able to spend only one hour a week checking on the 1800 offenders who are on parole at given time," says Richard Wagstaff.

The Auditor General says the shortage of probation officers is due to the increasing number of offenders on new community based sentences such as home detention. On any given day there are 35,000 people serving community-based sentences and orders, including the 1800 offenders who have been released early from prison on parole.

"Our concern is that Government is going to increase the workload for probation officers through the introduction of its new 'boot camp' regime which targets a thousand youth offenders," says Richard Wagstaff.

The government says the 'boot camps' regime will involve youth offenders being under supervision for up to a year. This will involve Supervision with Activity orders for youth offenders to a maximum of six months, followed by supervision of up to six months.

"If the government is going to add more work to over-loaded probation officers it must act now to get more probation officers into the system," says Richard Wagstaff.

"It can't just pile on the work and then stand back and criticise probation officers when they struggle to do their job," says Richard Wagstaff.

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