My question is to the new Attorney-General, Ms Symes, who I congratulate on her appointment.
It follows my 10th December Question Without Notice to former Attorney-General Hennessy about the remarkable decrease during 2020 in the number of people held in Victorian jails. It also follows revelations from journalist Aneeka Simonis in last Sunday’s Herald Sun. These show that around 5,000 convicted criminals have been released early because of the special COVID-19 emergency management day rules.
Attorney: will you be intervening in any way, in your capacity as the first law officer of Victoria, to ensure the arrangements that have allowed the Commissioner of Corrections and/or anyone else to grant these substantial sentence reductions are not used again?
Attorney: Obviously, even law-abiding Victorians’ freedoms were very heavily restricted throughout 2020. I’m therefore sure I speak for many of them when I say that the COVID restrictions applied to prisoners weren’t particularly exceptional when compared with the deprivation of liberties and movement experienced by the rest of the population as well.
Accordingly, I ask, in light of the extraordinary COVID-related sentence reductions given to convicted criminals, what extra
publicly-funded support (if any) has the Government made available to these perpetrators’ victims? I ask that not only because of the additional anxiety, inconvenience and stress that those victims have likewise endured from the lockdowns, but also the increased trauma and risk created for many of them by the very prospect of their offenders being released from gaol early.