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Toowoomba's dangerous underbelly exposed

MURDER, incest and abduction - the Toowoomba region has a dark and dangerous underbelly.

Our sordid neighbours are revealed as a leading victims' lobby group blasts early prison release for violent criminals.

A special APN investigation shows the district is home to parolees guilty of 17 murders, two manslaughters, one homicide and one abduction.

Toowoomba Probation and Parole officers are also managing people who have committed 12 sex offences.

Other parole cases include one of incest, two of child sex abuse and one of rape.

The number of people on parole in the Toowoomba region has risen.

There were 755 parolees in the district in the 2013-14 financial year - a rise of 24 on the 2012-13 financial year.

Theft, robbery and stealing - with 657 offences - were the most common areas the Toowoomba Probation and Parole office dealt with last financial year.

These were followed by drug offences with 463 on the TPP's books.

There were 391 driving and road rule cases, 349 bail, court order and statutory act breaches and escape or attempt to escape, 297 assaults, 56 weapons and 14 arson cases.

A 2014 Productivity Commission report says it costs about $300 a day to keep someone in prison.

A 2014 Australian Institute of Criminology study found that supervised parolees committed fewer offences than those who were released after serving their full sentence.

Legal expert Heather Douglas said Queensland's parole system had some shortcomings and that did not bode well for the community.

"We hear stories of people being on parole and having a parole officer and not being able to make contact with their parole officer when they need to," the University of Queensland law professor said.

"The focus on incapacitation through imprisonment is an incredibly short-sighted approach because the best place to learn new tricks of criminal offending is in prison, of course."

  • 2012-13 parolees - 731
  • 2013-14 parolees - 755

WHAT THEY DID
The number of offences managed by the Toowoomba Probation and Parole office, which covers the Warwick region, includes.

  • Murder, homicide &
  • manslaughter - 21
  • Robbery, stealing &
  • break &
  • enter - 657
  • Drug-related offences - 463
  • Driving &
  • traffic - 391
  • Bail, court &
  • escape offences - 349
  • Assault &
  • violence - 296
  • Fraud, forgery &
  • extortion - 103
  • Weapons-related offences - 56
  • Arson - 14
  • Sex-related offences - 12
  • Stalking - 13
  • Animal-related offences - 5
  • Kidnap - 1

* Note these are the number of offences that people are on parole for in the region. An offender may be serving parole on more than one offence.

  • Source: Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

Topics:  crime parole police probation toowoomba violence


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