Judge blasts government spending on prison shrinks

ONE of Queensland's top judges says Queensland Corrective Services is spending too much money on psychiatrists and not enough money on support workers to help high-risk sex offenders re-integrate back into the community.

Justice Peter Applegarth made the comment during a sentence hearing on Monday for Wacol child sex offender Graeme Paul Hancock.

Speaking to QCS manager Jolene Monson, Justice Applegarth asked if the organisation had professionals who could attend social events - such as dinner or the movies - with Hancock who he was preparing to release on a 10-year strict supervision order.

"Surely there's personalities that QCS could access - that could provide that kind of support and supervision as he takes his first steps towards going out socially," Justice Applegarth asked Ms Monson.

"Surely that would be a good resource to have."

Ms Monson said QCS only provided limited support for newly released high-risk offenders.

"When they are subject to a 24-hour curfew, he will be provided passes to community essential outings such as shopping," she said.

Justice Applegarth said Hancock's rehabilitation prospects would be stronger if he could broaden his circle of non-offending friends.

"It just seems odd to me that the medium to long-term rehabilitation - and therefore community protection - is really dependent on gathering a circle of friends and acquaintances," he said.

"He can develop that circle of friends through some modest supervision the first time he goes to the movies or out to dinner ... someone who can keep him on the straight and narrow."

Justice Applegarth then said the QCS psychiatry bill was paying for "many beach houses".

"You're not in control of the budget that you're given but it seems that QCS has very big budget for psychiatrists," he said.

"Imagine how many beach houses the psychiatrists in this jurisdiction have bought making their 90-page reports.

"Can we reduce the bill for the psychiatrists and pay someone 15 bucks an hour to go on a train or to the movies with someone.

"It seems a very odd allocation of resources.

"It's something to think about." - APN NEWSDESK

Topics:  courts offenders prisons

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