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‘The local community want this’: Corrections Commissioner defends prisoners playing football

tony jones

The Corrections Commissioner has defended the program which sees prisoners being let out to play football, telling 3AW there are fewer than 10 prisoners playing in three regional clubs.

Following the news yesterday that one-punch victim David Cassai’s killer Dylan Closter was being let out of jail to play with the Rushworth Football club, Minister Gayle Tierney asked for a review of the case.

Corrections Commissioner Emma Cassar told Tony Jones this program has been welcomed in the local community.

“I think it was around 2011, the community initiated this because they were having trouble recruiting players,” Ms Cassar said.

“We have under 10 prisoners playing in a local league in three clubs, all the clubs are aware that there are prisoners playing.

“The local community in the Dhurringile region want this.”

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Ms Cassar said prisoners have “a quick snack and return to custody” after playing a game.

When asked about the impact on victim’s families, Ms Cassar said if the review finds notifying families is to be “done in a different way and a more proactive way then I’m happy to do that.”

She also admitted the program could be in jeopardy if after prisoners become targets on the footy field.

“It is a concern, if there is a risk then prisoners won’t be allowed to go out,” she said.

“We don’t want harm to come to prisoners in our care.”

Photo: 7 News Melbourne

tony jones