Long standing issues within the parole and prison law space


Social Media Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

On 17 May 2022, Her Honour Justice Ryan QC published the decision of Harrod v Parole Board Queensland [2022] QSC 84.

The decision is available here: https://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2022/QSC22-084.pdf

Whilst this particular applicant was unsuccessful in this application for statutory review, this decision provides evidence of two concerning and long-standing issues within the parole and prison law space.

Firstly, the absolute lack of funding that is afforded to persons in prison attempting to navigate the parole system. Judges should not be required to provide legal advice to self-represented litigants throughout the course of a hearing for review. Parole decision making processes are complex and navigating them from within custody is incredibly difficult. Often prisoners do not understand the process or what is required of them, they have little support and limited access to resources and the process is inefficient as it is conducted entirely by way of written correspondence (which so many prisoners are unable to respond to because they cannot read and write). The fact prisoners are not entitled to free legal advice in relation to matters that pertain to their liberty is unacceptable. The simple fact that these matters are heard in our state’s Supreme Court demonstrate their importance, yet they remain unfunded.

The second issue is a lack of suitable accommodation available to persons leaving prison. This is also complicated in cases where prisoners have complex needs. Prisoners are constantly being granted parole that is “subject to suitable accommodation” or constantly being told that their accommodation is unsuitable for reasons that are not in the public interest to disclose. The result being, someone who has been deemed suitable to be in the community remains in prison. I’ve seen many prisoners apply to reside at address they do not wish to live at because once they are in the community, finding accommodation is a less onerous task. We expect prisoners to re-enter the community and “do better” yet this task is made nearly impossible as so little assistance is provided to access basic social services. We cannot solve every issue that a newly released prisoner may face, but arguably a comfortable and safe place to sleep at night is a good start.

It is not a quick fix, but appropriate funding to address these two issues would see prisoners released into the community on parole faster. The need to fund legal representation for parole decisions has been raised with the state government on many occasions. In his 2016 review into the Parole System, Justice Sofronoff commented that Prisoners’ Legal Service (PLS) should be appropriately funded due to the crucial role it plays in “assisting a marginalised and disadvantaged cohort in a complex legal environment that they would not be otherwise equipped to enter”. Six years on, that call remains unanswered with no funding being provided to ensure that all prisoners receive access to legal representation for parole decisions.

The cost of managing a prisoner in the community is significantly less than keeping them incarcerated. Appropriate funding for legal and social services would start to address overcrowding as people who shouldn’t be there could be released and services within prison such as drug and violence counselling would be more accessible, it would also make prisons generally cheaper to operate. However, our state government has chosen to spend $654 million on expanding prisoner infrastructure to address overcrowding. Let’s also not forget the $15 million that was approved in the 2019–2020 financial year and further $8 million in the 2021-2022 financial year, for an additional 1000 beds (the statewide bunk bed project) to be installed in the secure cells of Queensland’s high security correctional centres.

Tax payers resources should not be spent ensuring that a prisoner has a bed to sleep in whilst they are incarcerated, those resources should be spent ensuring the bed isn’t required at all. 

This article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require further information, advice or assistance for your specific circumstances, please contact the Fisher Dore team.


left arrow round - Fisher Dore LawyersRight

Fisher Dore Lawyers have to be the best criminal lawyers in Queensland.


Great law firm. Technically brilliant, and focused on achieving the outcome that the client wants... and achieving it as quickly as possible.

Josh - Facebook Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Excellent representation - solid advice - great outcome.

Michael - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Highly recommended. Real people. Respectful.

Sylvia - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

I’ve prosecuted against Nick Dore and I’m a fan of his work. If I ever needed a Defence solicitor in my corner, I’d choose him... what can I say, the man is brilliant.

Acts1power - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Fisher Dore are Brisbane’s best law firm. Honest, genuine and (most importantly) competent lawyers who will help you achieve justice. I give them 10/10.

Moreish Food - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Long term professional association. Established credibility and integrity. A pleasure to be involved in multidisciplinary team work in benefitting clients.

Alec - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

The only law firm I trust!

Kimberley - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Friendly and professional. Highly recommend the team. Approachable and non-judgemental with a passion and extensive knowledge of what they do.

Rachael - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

This firm was so easy to talk to, compassionate, reliable and 100% hardworking. Thanks so much.

Mich - Google Review

We can't express how grateful we are for all your kindness, support and generosity during this difficult time. With sincere thanks.

Thank you Fisher Dore for all you have done to release the burden we have been living with...well done.

Just want to say thank you for all your help and effort you have put in. You go above and beyond. I appreciate everything you and your team have done for me in helping better my life!

Thanks again…for going above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful I can now get on the right track and move forward with my life.

Thank-you for all the hard work you have put into my case and your continued support throughout the last few months. I appreciate everything you have done for me.

Thank you for fighting for me and for doing such a great job. Please pass on my gratitude to the team.

Thank you for your compassion, dedication and hard work throughout this difficult time. This has been life changing for me and I can't imagine how I would have got through this without your support, professionalism and expertise. I'm so grateful for your efforts and the great work you did on my behalf. Thanks again for going above and beyond, and doing everything you could to win my case.

I just wanted to put into writing, just how profoundly grateful I am for the sound advice & skilful representation you provided. The outcome you secured for me was better than I could have dared to wish for. I owe you a debt of gratitude.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

I personally have known Mr Fisher for 20 years and in my opinion this firm is by far the best representation in Brisbane city and surrounding districts! My first pick always and best results from both Mr Fisher and Mr Dore and their team!! Thanks guys.

Mohammed - Google Review

I just wanted to say thank you very much for your handling of my case. I am very pleased with the outcome as well as your professionalism in communication and encouragement in my difficult time. Once again, thank you very much.

I want to thank you for looking after us both in a legal sense and in your sense of care. This has been enormously stressful. Having your diligent professionalism was greatly reassuring.

You will always be known to me and my family as the person who gave us the biggest gift we could ever want. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you so much for your amazing work. You have made a compelling argument for me and I believe my application was successful only because of your excellent work. You have always been very professional, punctual and provided me with accurate advice at all times. I am extremely grateful that I had you as my lawyer.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Strongly recommend if you would like the best chance at freedom.

Alex - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Thank you to the wonderful and professional team at Fisher Dore Lawyers. The experience you brought to the table was nothing but excellent, achieving an amazing result.

Andrew - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

When you want the best this is the number you call. They do it right the first time. Thanks Nick.

Dale - Google Review

We cannot thank you enough for the amazing outcome; it was so much better than we could have hoped for. Having a highly skilled professional such as yourself was so beneficial, thank you again.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Professional but caring! Very informative and assisted in navigating me calmly through a very stressful situation. Very experienced. Highly recommend.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Michael is a fighter, and a winner, to say the least. Truly amazing, words cannot express my gratitude. I had a complex situation, he was able to find a way through the puzzle.

James - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Very friendly and professional. Perfect solution for your legal difficulties.

Syed - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Mark - Google Review
Close popup tab