Victims of crime have been outraged after it was revealed that convicted felons had spent knitting scarves and making dog toys as part of their community service.
Those affected by crime say it’s an insult and fear lenient sentences are on the rise.
Noel McNamara was sentenced to life 29 years ago when his daughter Tracey was murdered.
After his daughter’s killer was released after serving 10 years, Mr McNamara was shocked to learn that felons serving community correction orders had spent the COVID lockdown making art and painting. craft instead.
“I think it’s disgusting. It’s outrageous, it’s an insult to all the victims who suffer from these people – what they did,” Mr McNamara told 9News.
Between March and December last year, traditional tasks like collecting trash, cleaning paths and building community gardens were replaced by activities such as quilting, knitting scarves, braiding leashes for dogs, assembling planters, sewing bags and sorting donations for op-shops. All items were donated to charities, animal shelters and aged care facilities.
Of the 700,000 hours of community work ordered for the last fiscal year, only 65% was completed.
Now there are fears that lenient sentences may become more common as judges grapple with the huge backlog caused by the pandemic.
“I would love to see them all reform, but I know that will never happen,” Mr McNamara said.