Vic parole review probes public decisions

A review into Victoria's parole board is examining if its decisions and hearings should be made public, as is the practice in other countries.

Victoria is examining if parole decisions should be made public as part of its review into how a dozen murders were committed by criminals on parole.

Victims and justice groups have been pressuring the state government into making the Adult Parole Board of Victoria more transparent and accountable, especially in the wake of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher's high-profile rape and murder.

Her husband Tom Meagher is waiting on the board to explain why it let her murderer, a serial rapist, be released on parole - and then didn't send him back to jail after he admitted to assaulting someone while on parole months before her 2012 death in an inner-city laneway.

The parole board currently does not make its decision public and holds all of its parole hearings in private.

But Corrections Minister Edward O'Donohue's spokesman says a forthcoming review by a former judge into parole reform is examining the merits of having parole board decisions released publicly, as is done in other countries like Canada.

"Publication of parole board decisions is one of the matters currently being considered by former High Court judge Ian Callinan in his review of the board's operations," he told AAP on Sunday.

The former judge's report is believed to be days away from being submitted to government for consideration.

Steve Medcraft of the People Against Lenient Sentencing, said he hopes the parole board does make its reasons for decision public so the community can better understand how risk assessments are being made.

"The problem is that it's done behind closed doors," he told AAP.

"There has to be accountability. There has to be transparency and there has to be confidence."

Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara also urged the government to adopt any recommendation to open up the parole board.

"I'm a great believer in transparency," he told AAP.

"With the parole board, everything is all secret, no one knows who is really on there."

Mr Meagher's demands joins a push from other victims of paroled criminals who have asked for more accountability.

The Adult Parole Board has been contacted for comment.

Source AAP

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