The Cook Labor Government’s failure to put community safety ahead of the freedom of violent offenders points to a government that has its priorities wrong.
It follows revelations the violent offender who left Danny Hodgson permanently disabled in a one-punch attack has been charged with another attack after being released from prison early on a supervision order.
“This is no doubt devastating for Danny Hodgson and his family and friends and it raises some serious questions about the government’s approach to crime and justice,” Shadow Justice Minister Tjorn Sibma said.
“This offender should never have been granted early release given his history of offending and the seriousness of his previous offences.
“Western Australians have every right to ask whether the justice system is there to protect the community or to show sympathy to offenders?
“What is the point of imposing these penalties when time and again, these dangerous offenders are released early, and time and again, repeat offend?
“It completely undermines public confidence in the justice system and most people would expect that if you do the crime, you do the time.”
Shadow Corrective Services Minister Peter Collier said the case highlighted flaws in the youth justice system.
“I think there needs to be a little bit of soul searching with regard to some cases and some offenders at the moment that are walking on our streets and evidently shouldn’t be there,” Mr Collier said.
“Until we get comprehensive rehabilitation programs within our juvenile detention centre, you’re going to have exactly what’s happening right now.
“You cannot put them into juvenile detention and send them out without rehabilitating them or else they’ll do exactly what they’re doing.”
WA Liberal Leader Libby Mettam said the lack of priority on community safety pointed to a Labor Government that was soft on crime.
Ms Mettam said the Premier’s comments in Parliament yesterday in relation to the early release of another violent offender, Luke Noormets, who murdered his ex-partner while on parole, were staggering.
“To hear the Premier say releasing these offenders on parole assists with their rehabilitation and generally offered more protection to the community in the longer term, was astonishing,” Ms Mettam said.
“The Cook Labor Government must do more to keep the WA community safe – not defend poor decisions by the Prisoners Review Board and the Supervised Release Review Board, and the actions of violent offenders.”
“There is a clear disconnect between community expectations and the increasingly light-handed way the justice system is enforcing the punishments of these violent offenders.”