The incorrect release of prisoners is absolutely unacceptable, and the Government took immediate action to rectify this by commissioning a KPMG audit, amending processes within the Tasmania Prison Service and establishing a centralised Sentence Administration Unit.
The KPMG audit which we are releasing today confirms the incorrect releases were the result of longstanding systemic issues within the justice system –issues that were ignored by the previous Labor-Green Government.
Despite incorrect releases occurring in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, Labor and the Greens chose to stay silent and do nothing to fix these long-standing issues.
The audit recommends that the Government review the Sentencing Act to enable simpler language when actioning sentence orders and a consistent approach to the terms of warrants.
This is strongly supported by the Government and we intend to introduce a bill in consultation with courts and other stakeholders this year, as a priority.
The Government will also implement a number of recommendations relating to the recently established Sentence Administration Unit, including the need for coordinated training opportunities for staff and formalised policies and procedures.
The Department of Justice will also work to identify a modern alternative to the IT systems currently implemented at the Courts and within the Tasmania Prison Service.
The only recommendation contained within the KPMG Audit that the Government does not support relates to the physical location of the Sentence Administration Unit at the Hobart Supreme Court as there are multiple court locations around the State and location of the staff isn't relevant if an integrated IT system is in place.
Tasmanians can rest assured that we are taking this matter very seriously, and all necessary steps are being undertaken to prevent these issues from occurring again.
The KPMG audit and Government response is now available on the Department of Justice website.