Pipers takes lead in supporting Qld prisoners
Lawyers from DLA Piper will assist disadvantaged prisoners in northern Queensland as part of a parole assistance program.
The firm has teamed up with Queensland’s Prisoners' Legal Service to develop the Safe Way Home project, an initiative launched last week by the state Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
The program will involve lawyers from DLA Piper assisting disadvantaged prisoners to prepare written parole applications, including indigenous, illiterate and non-English speaking prisoners, plus those with a disability.
According to DLA Piper, the work will help to ensure that prisoners, regardless of their education levels, race or background, have equal access to a safer, more structured and supervised release into the community.
Among the thousands of prisoners who apply for parole in Queensland every year, many face huge difficulties when making a parole application due to low literacy.
“This program supports the ongoing work of the Prisoners’ Legal Service and addresses key areas of pro bono focus for the firm, particularly that of equality and education,” said Daniel Creasey, Asia-Pacific pro bono manager and pro bono counsel for DLA Piper.
“It will provide prisoners with more equal access to a proper transition into the community via the parole board approval process. These are people who would otherwise struggle to participate in parole programs, due to education levels, language or other difficulties,” he added.
Matilda Alexander from Prisoners’ Legal Service said: “The assistance of DLA Piper will enable the service to expand further into regional and remote areas and target assistance to those most in need due to factors such as disability and low literacy.
"There are very few lawyers focusing on the back end of a sentence compared to front end matters such as adjournments, committals, bail applications, trials and sentencing, though similar questions of liberty are at stake."