Priest seeks to calm hysteria over released sex offender

In the light of media hysteria following the release of former sex offender, Brian Keith Jones, Fr Peter Norden chaplain (pictured), of Jesuit Social Services has called for a rational response form media representatives and the State Opposition.

Speking in his capacity as chair of the the Victorian Criminal Justice Coalition, the former Pentridge prison who knows Jones well, has called on the media to honestly examine the stringent supervision conditions that Jones is under and to stop creating panic among ordinary Melbourne parents and families.

"Jones' release on parole is the best way to supervise his release back into the community, since his 24 hour supervision ensures that his behaviour can be monitored during the period that any offender is at greatest risk of reoffending, during the first three months after release". "Finding as suitable residence will always be difficult," he admitted.

"Get serious about how to prevent such crimes being committed in the future by focusing on how early sex offenders are treated as juvenile offenders," Fr Norden suggested.

"It is ironic that only [on Thursday] the State Government opened a new treatment centre for juvenile offenders at Parkville which includes an innovative program for sex offenders, but no media outlets reported on the occasion," he pointed out.

"Every day offender are being released from correctional facilities throughout the State that have a high risk of reoffending, but no media commentators are prepared to focus on the support and the services that are needed for such programs to be effective."

"It is time for the State Opposition and the tabloid media to take a bi-partisan approach to the management of such offenders and to stop the ridiculous game that is being payed out in the media during the last two days", he insisted.

Stop the hysteria campaign against Brian Keith Jones (Victorian Criminal Justice Coalition 15/7/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Jesuit Social Services

Bracks defends 'Mr Baldy' move (The Age 16/7/05)

18 Jul 2005