Law Week 2017 Justice Journeys

Amanda

Amanda is a third year Bachelor of Laws student at James Cook University. She spent her Justice Journey placement at the Townsville Probation and Parole Office.

I found the experience at the Townsville Probation and Parole Centre very informative and it was interesting learning the role and day to day practicality of the Probation and Parole Office.

Being a third year law student, it helped a lot to understand the impact of being placed on a community service, probation or parole order. I now have knowledge on how the process works, and the general obligations of parties placed on these orders. Additionally, I learnt about the consequences of not abiding by the orders, and how the probation and parole staff truly want to help people successfully complete their orders.

During my day spent with Townsville Probation and Parole, I attended the Magistrates Court where I was able to gain a good understanding of the process that links the work conducted by the Queensland Police Service in charging perpetrators of crimes, and how the courts administer the laws and provide sentences. It was interesting to see how this then flows into an offender’s community supervision with the involvement of Probation and Parole. Following on from the court process I was able to shadow Probation and Parole staff, where I witnessed the induction of offenders who had been placed on community based orders.

I saw how officers assess risk and interact with offenders coming straight from the courts. I also saw offenders undertaking their general reporting requirements, officers interacting with offenders, and witnessed how they obtain information relevant to the management of the offender. I also observed how information is recorded, stored and utilised by officers when preparing for interactions with offenders.

"I now understand that Queensland Corrective Services play a vital role in the criminal justice system and their goal of protecting the community while striving to support each offender to address their behavior and to break the cycles that see them returning to the justice system."

I was shown the Operational Practice Guidelines that provide Probation and Parole staff with their framework for the delivery of their service to offenders and the accountability that each officer works under. I now understand that Queensland Corrective Services play a vital role in the criminal justice system and their goal of protecting the community while striving to support each offender to address their behavior and to break the cycles that see them returning to the justice system.

Before the experience I was oblivious to all the levels behind being placed on an order and the background work involved in each offender’s order undertaken by the office.

Similarly, I was unaware that Probation and Parole staff sit in on each court hearing prior to an order being made, to then meet with the person at the end of the case and explain their obligations.