Mount Isa's Fr Mick Lowcock says there needed to be better planning with prisoner releases back into community to ensure families and support groups can get them home.
Father Mick, who runs the North West Queensland Indigenous Catholic Social Services, made the recommendation in his submission to the Queensland Productivity Commission Inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism.
"A person was released from Lotus Glen prison and the Community Justice Group had less than 24 hours' notice (which) meant he came to Mount Isa and had to be transferred to Mornington Island by air on a public holiday," Father Mick told the Inquiry.
"It does not give much time to source options for transport and what is needed locally for him."
In a second example Father Mick said a mother called him on a Saturday to say her son was released from Woodford Prison and was at the Bus Depot in Brisbane and did not have money to come back to her.
"I understand that there is more to it than the surface issues we deal with and we don't always have all the facts," he said.
"However, this highlights the need for greater local input into transition plans surrounding prisoner release."
Father Mick there should be a week or two within the transitional plan where appropriate placement and support options are explored, especially around re-offending risk factors such as family and accommodation circumstances.
"From our experience, reintegration planning needs to also consider mental health, Centrelink; work or pre-employment issues, fines to be faced, licences, DV awareness of possible breaches, NDIS provider, financial issues and bank debt, gambling addictions, the cycle of poverty (and) programs to support release and normalisation of the new family life," he said.
He said reintegration plans also needed to be shared more broadly with relevant support agencies beyond Probation and Parole.
"Local Probation and Parole staff often have integrated relationships with other local support agencies, relying or referring to services such as the Community Justice Group, as mechanisms in the support or management offered to offenders," he said.
"Sharing of information is critically important to help the individual successfully emerge back into society in a pro-social manner."
Father Mick said the costs involved in transporting prisoners to jail from the coast and then back to court in Mount Isa.
"Some localised figures advanced are $30,000 for the flight from Mount Isa to Townsville," he said.
"The costs for running a low risk facility in Mount Isa should be investigated."
He said there was a tendency to overlook substantive issues which may not have contributed to the original incarceration, but emerge later as very real risk factors in re-offending.
"A suggested support component is a need for a Men's Place in Mount Isa and surrounding communities," he said.
"With no place for men to go when in trouble, as well as on release, there is a high need to a specific place on release or when facing difficult issues at home."
Father Mick said youth domestic family violence was also becoming a much bigger issue as well as the issue of young girls being promised to older men in NT traditional customs.
He said an increasing number of people were coming to Mount Isa for alcohol and drug access, ease of access to facilities, and to get away from Centrelink cards.
He also identified pornography that leads to violence, unlicensed driving and drink driving, and the ability to nominate which day to receive Centrelink payments as contributing to recidivism issues.
"Most issues have been identified as having a beginning in breakdown of family life," he said.
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