The Pros and Cons of Parole

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Parole is a highly controversial issue in Australia and around the world. A likely cause for this controversy is the general public’s ignorance of the specifics where parole is concerned. Any casual observation of a local newspaper or current affairs program on TV will likely result in the discovery of a member of the public’s opinion of crime and criminals and the criminal justice system in general, and what they believe to be wrong with it and no doubt suggestions on how to fix it. These opinions will probably be biased in nature, and influenced by information supplied to them by various forms of media. This information does not necessarily reflect the reality of the situation regarding the parole system. Adding to this potential for…show more content…
It was designed as a concession to the prisoner which was also expected to benefit the community as a whole, at the same time providing the environmental influences which would discourage the offender from committing further offences (Law Reform Commission NSW, 2001).

Parole was originally designed in the mid-1800s as an alternative to incarceration when it became apparent that incarceration was unsatisfactorily effective at preventing further criminal behaviour by offenders (Travis, 1995). It was agreed that a system of reform would prove more effective than imprisonment when it came to producing law-abiding citizens. While parole has its origins in America, it underwent revision on Norfolk Island in a British penal colony operated by Alexander Maconochie, now referred to as the “father of parole”. This system, where prisoners were allowed increasing levels of freedom and other benefits in reward for good behaviour and productivity, laid the groundwork for the modern parole system in use today, though there have been modifications made in response to changing political and economic situations, as well as legal challenges.

The parole system has had its criticisms in the years since its introduction into the Australian criminal justice system, with some questioning the procedures involved, and others calling for the abolition of parole altogether. Some of these criticisms come in the form of somewhat one-sided, subjective
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