Recent incorrect releases of Tasmanian prisoners were largely the fault of obsolete information technology systems, an independent auditor has found.
KPMG filed a report to the Department of Justice, wherein it made recommendations for the improvement of processes around the release of inmates.
The report stated that the Sentence and Remand Order’s IT systems were not equipped to record “complex” sentences or to determine inmate release dates without manual override.
Over the past two years, seven prisoners have been incorrectly released in Tasmania.
In Parliament on Wednesday, Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin said the government had deemed the errors “a matter of urgency”.
“I can assure members that all necessary steps are being undertaken to minimise the risk of incorrect releases happening again,” she said.
Dr Goodwin highlighted that incorrect releases had occurred under the previous Labor-Green government as well.
Opposition Leader Bryan Green said the time it took for Dr Goodwin to address the issue was “not good enough”.
“It’s just a time-wasting exercise,” Mr Green said.
“A minister worth their salt can scrutinise what’s occurred and make decisions on how to improve that, not send it off to KPMG to get a full report that then takes forever.”
KPMG’s report advised the DOJ to simplify the language contained in the Sentencing Act, particularly in regard to the interpretation of warrants.
The report also recommended that relevant staff training opportunities be improved upon, and that policies and procedures related to prisoner releases be formalised.
KPMG’s suggestion that the Sentencing Administration Unit be relocated from Risdon Prison to the Hobart Supreme Court was rejected by the government on the grounds that a prospective “integrated” IT system for the courts and the TPS would make the location of the SAU irrelevant.