Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Pandemic has presented the Board with unforeseen challenges and I am indebted to the advice and efforts of staff at Parole Board Queensland in responding to the crisis.
The Board has been proactive in establishing processes to –
- prioritise the consideration of parole applications by people identified to have a vulnerability to COVID-19;
- protect staff and Board Members from the risk of community transmission.
The community can be reassured that prisoner vulnerability has not been considered on its own, sufficient reason to be released from prison. Rather, particular vulnerabilities (as advised by Queensland Health) have been taken into account as part of the many factors the Board considers when deciding any parole matter.
During the Pandemic, I have convened a weekly teleconference with Board Members to provide up-to-date information regarding the delivery of Board functions, latest information from Queensland Corrective Services and the Courts, changes to community-based supervision measures and importantly, to extend a line of support and cohesiveness across the Membership as people worked remotely under self-isolation conditions.
In practical terms, the Board utilised all available technologies to mitigate the risk of contagion and to keep the Board operating at full function.
Michael Byrne QC