IMPRISONED killer allowed to play footy, while heartbroken mum continues to mourn son who was his victim.
That is the scenario that generated an angry response across Victoria and southern NSW this week.
It is not surprising.
How can you justify Dylan Closter, who in 2014 was ordered to spend nine years and three months in jail for manslaughter, being freed from prison to play football not even halfway through his sentence?
Closter does not deserve that privilege after taking the life of David Cassai with a one-punch attack in 2012.
If he is being freed from prison on day release it should be for community work, not to help with football team numbers.
Mr Cassai’s mother Caterina Politi argues it shows the justice system putting the rights of prisoners above those of victims.
Adding to her frustration, she learnt Closter was playing football from a television journalist.
In response to the situation, the Victorian government has committed to reviewing the football program and the Opposition has said it would ban violent offenders participating in it, if it is elected in November.
It is appropriate that killers be banned from the scheme, you don’t deserve to pull on a football guernsey as a prisoner when you’ve behaved so brutally.
However, that does not mean the program should be abandoned for minimum security convicts who have committed lesser offences.
It aids the rehabilitation of inmates and assists XVIIIs facing number shortages, Beechworth Football Club president John Thistleton told The Border Mail.
He said prisoners from the Beechworth jail that played for his club were carefully screened and met strict conditions, including not consuming alcohol or cigarettes.
Victorian Opposition corrections spokesman Ed O’Donohue suggested it would be better to have prisoners painting town halls or removing blackberries.
There should be nothing to stop inmates undertaking both tasks, in that situation the prisoner and community benefit.