High maintenance sex offenders a costly problem

Huge resources and costs are involved in housing a small number of high-needs sex offenders, QCS says.
Huge resources and costs are involved in housing a small number of high-needs sex offenders, QCS says. Supplied

AFTER warnings of a growing population of old or sick sex offenders, jail authorities say it's too costly to arrange supported accommodation for offenders with "excessive health issues".

This week, psychiatrist Dr Josephine Sundin said Queensland had a growing number of offenders "who really can't be safely released into the community."

The comments were made at a hearing for serial sex predator Geoffrey Doolan, whose victims included a Rockhampton woman and a Mackay teenager.

Doolan had a cognitive impairment, a personality disorder, and a history of alcohol abuse.

But Corrective Services said it was not feasible to devise supported accommodation for a small number of offenders with "excessive health issues" because of "the extensive resources and costs involved."

QCS said it already provided contingency accommodation at the Wacol, Rockhampton and Townsville precincts.

This was for offenders released to supervision under sex offender laws who had no suitable alternative accommodation.

"Offenders are responsible for reintegration activities within the conditions of their order and are expected to live independently," a Corrective Services spokesman said.

"This includes shopping, cooking and routine domestic tasks."

He said 36 offenders were housed in Wacol contingency accommodation, eight at Townsville, and none at Rockhampton.

Corrective Services said Wacol had two houses with four bedrooms and two bathrooms with disability access.

"QCS has safely housed offenders with mobility issues and elderly offenders in those rooms."

In Queensland, jailed sex offenders can be put on supervision orders, released on parole with supervision, or given continued detention.

Courts must consider factors such as psychiatrists' reports before deciding whether a prisoner remains "a serious danger" to the community.

"We see it time and again that the supervision order itself can sometimes be a massive barrier to placing someone into a hostel-type placement," Dr Sundin said earlier this week.

She said Doolan had a "cluster" of problems, and he might "sexually act out against residents" in a hostel.

Though only 51, his history of alcohol abuse was among the reasons he was "biologically" much older, said Dr Scott Harden, another psychiatrist.


Topics:  corrective services courts crime dpsoa dr josephine sundin editors picks geoffrey doolan mackay rockhampton

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