Court-ordered parolees more likely to re-offend

THE State Parole Authority is better than the courts at choosing which offenders to let serve time in the community, with court-ordered parolees 19% more likely to re-offend.

In the first study of its type ever conducted in Australia, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research followed 822 matched pairs of offenders who served between 18 and 36 months in custody.

One member of each pair had been granted parole by a court; the remaining offender had been released through the SPA's review process.

"Court-ordered offenders were 19% more likely to re-offend at any point in time compared with SPA parolees," BOCSAR found.

"Differences in re-offending favouring SPA parolees were most evident at 24 and 36 months."

The results held up across a wide range of variables including gender, indigenous status, age, offence type, drug use, offence type and history of breaching court orders.

"Interestingly, no difference in re-offending was found between SPA parolees and court-ordered parolees while both groups were on parole," BOCSAR found.

"Significant differences (favouring SPA parolees) emerged only after the parole orders in both groups had expired."

BOCSAR also compared the types of offences committed by SPA parolees compared with court-ordered parolees but found little difference between the groups. -ARM NEWSDESK