The most recent incorrect release of a Risdon Prison inmate has ended the way it began – in confusion and lack of information.
Rocherlea man Josh Brown was serving a four-month sentence for a number of driving and drug offences, but an outstanding charge was dealt with while he was in jail and an extra 28 days were added to his term.
He was released without serving those 28 days due to an administration error.
It was unclear if Attorney-General Elise Archer knew about the error – her advisers certainly gave mixed and misleading information when The Examiner tried to confirm details of the situation.
That, in itself, is seriously concerning.
Now Brown’s mother is trying to find information about where her son is and what is happening to him.
His sentence was due to expire on December 3 and he was taken into custody on December 1. It is unclear if he has to serve the 28 days or if his sentence has expired.
The 31-year-old faces the likelihood of spending Christmas in jail because of the error, which is an unfair outcome.
There will be many who have no sympathy for Brown’s situation – he is someone who has chosen to commit offences and been punished accordingly.
Further, Brown could have handed himself in or made himself available to police when they attempted to locate him on several occasions.
That is true and The Examiner believes if you do the crime, you do the time and repay your debt to society. But there needs to be clarity and certainty around the administration process and confidence in the communication of accurate information.
Brown was the eighth known prisoner to be incorrectly released since 2015.
A 2017 report into the previous errors recommended the Justice Department streamline court processes and implement a single registry for all courts.
This has certainly not been the case and the government needs to do better to ensure there is confidence that prisoners are serving their sentences in full, but are being fairly treated.
Public confidence requires that much.