ECU Research Week panel puts parole under scrutiny

ECU criminologist Natalie Gateley will talk about parole during Research Week.
ECU criminologist Natalie Gateley will talk about parole during Research Week.

A PANEL of experts will discuss how, when and why criminals are released and what the community thinks about parole during Edith Cowan University’s Research Week.

According to panel member and ECU criminologist Natalie Gately, parole has a bad rap among the public and is often misunderstood as a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

“There are very few prisoners who do not get released from prison,” Dr Gately said.

“So as a community we have options – let them serve their entire sentence in prison and then release them unsupervised in the community, or offer prisoners a chance to serve the end portion of their sentence under supervision in the community.

“For most, parole offers the best opportunity for the prisoner to successfully re-enter society, with conditions, controls and support with the assistance of a community corrections (parole) officer.”

Dr Gately’s research showed the public was less punitive than politicians and newspaper headlines would suggest.

“When offered accurate information about the role of parole and the expectations and conditions parolees are placed under, the public generally supported parole,” she said.

As part of ECU Research Week from September 10 to 14, 6PR’s Gareth Parker will host a panel of experts to discuss the decision-making process around granting, deferring and refusing parole.

The panel discussion, from 3.45pm to 5.30pm on Friday, September 14, will include the Prison Review Board’s Allan Fenbury, Craig Somerville and Michael Coole as well as community member Georgia Prideaux-Cera, Victims of Crime Assistant Commissioner Kati Kraszlan and ECU clinical psychologist James McCue.

They will outline how they take into account factors affecting the offender, victims of crime, and the safety of the community.

Other issues to be explored at the Joondalup campus during Research Week include ‘Biogeochemistry of the Oceans: From the Deep Sea to the Coast’ and ‘Groundwater Dependencies: From Conceptual Understandings to Managing Ecosystems’ on September 10.

For more information, visit ecu.edu.au/research/week.