New sex offender program warning ignored

A CRITICAL sex offender rehabilitation program is yet to be fully implemented in Tasmania despite a warning from the parole board more than a year ago.

The Sex Offender Intervention Model is the only publicly available treatment for sex offenders in the community.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said training would be ongoing for probation officers managing sex offenders.

Its full implementation isn't due until June 2014.

The program involves intensive community management of sex offenders including establishing risk, promoting change and developing support networks to prevent reoffending.

Parole board chairwoman Marica Duvnjak said last year that "the much-needed" program was essential for sex offenders unable to fund private treatment or access Medicare-funded programs".

"Once the community- based intervention is in place the board could impose attendance as a condition of any parole order further enhancing the rehabilitation prospects of the parolee and protection of the community," she said the board's 2011-12 annual report.

In that year 25 sex offenders were released in to the community compared with just six in 2012-13.

Sex offenders can access rehabilitation in Risdon Prison but only if they admit to their offences.

Last financial year saw 76 prisoners granted parole compared with 100 the year before.

Twenty-seven prisoners had parole revoked during 2012-13 in which time there were 115 parolees.

In the latest annual report Ms Duvnjak highlighted the lack of proper housing for parolees.

Suitable accommodation is important for community safety allowing authorities to monitor the whereabouts of parolees.

The Examiner revealed this month that the board had lost track of parolee and convicted killer Jamie Leigh Smith in 2011.

Smith is meant to be serving a life sentence for murdering a teenager in Hobart 20 years ago but is now on the run from Tasmania Police.

In the report, Ms Duvnjak said there had been calls for a rethink on parole following the rape and murder of Jill Meagher by Victorian parolee Adrian Bailey in 2012.

But she said Tasmania's parole system was significantly different to Victoria's.

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