The mother of a toddler murdered in Tumut has been left "devastated" by the pending release of her child's killer on parole.
The NSW State Parole Authority (SPA) announced on Friday afternoon that Douglas James Wade would be released on "supervised parole" on December 15.
Wade has spent more than 31 years in jail for the sexual assault and murder of a 22-month-old girl he was babysitting in Tumut in 1988.
Victim advocate Howard Brown, who represented the toddler's family at the parole hearings in Sydney, told The Daily Advertiser that the family disagreed with the decision to grant parole.
"To say [the toddler's mother] was devastated would be an understatement," Mr Brown said.
"It's a very difficult decision and we have been working really hard to ensure Mr Wade is not released until such time was we believe he is fit to be released.
"We disagree with the [SPA]. The Authority appears to be of the view that there is nothing further they can do with him whilst in custody and they hope that when he is out in the community they will be able to work on any issues that arise.
"I just think it's a huge gamble."
Wade, now aged 57, pleaded not guilty at trial but was sentenced to life in prison in 1989 for killing the 22-month-old girl he was babysitting.
His sentence was later reduced to a minimum of 26 years on appeal in 2013.
The victim and her family cannot be named for legal reasons.
IN OTHER NEWS
As part of the conditions of his parole, Wade will not be able to set foot in the Snowy Valleys Council local government area and the township of Tumut.
Mr Brown said the victim's family did not have any avenue to appeal the parole decision and any such action would have to be taken by the government.
"At least [Wade] will have employment as part of parole. With employment, there is a level of distraction which would be a disincentive for him to go back to his old ways," Mr Brown said.
"Employment is a well-directed way in assisting in rehabilitation because people are distracted by maintaining employment."
The SPA said it considered extensive evidence, advice and reports in making the parole decision, including but not limited to the advice of the Serious Offenders Review Council recommending release to parole.
The parole authority was also handed reports of escorted external leave advising that since 2017, Wade completed 36 episodes of weekend and 34 day leaves as a test of his "staged reintegration into the community".
"The SPA determined the safety of the community was best served by ordering the offender to complete the remainder of his sentence on parole, under the supervision and monitoring of Community Corrections," an SPA spokesperson said.
Mr Brown said he could understand the rationale behind granting Wade parole now, rather than when his full sentence was complete, as the authority would not be able to require supervision under a full release.
"[The SPA] is driven by a principle, with which I agree, as does the family, that it is far better to release a person with supervision than without supervision," Mr Brown said.
"But our view is that there is still three-and-a-half years of the sentence outstanding, we could spend more time psychologically with Mr Wade to prepare him for reintegration with the community.
"When there is a 12-month period left on his sentence, then you release him with the same conditions as set out by the parole authority, and if the proves to be insufficient time, you then seek an extended supervision order to continue to supervision beyond the sentence."
Mr Brown said there was a "flaw" in the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act that prevented the SPA from considering the possibility of an extended supervision orders being used to monitor or detain offenders after their release from custody.
"What I believe that really needs to occur is for the government to get off their backsides and change the law so that the parole authority can take into account the possibility of subjecting a prisoner to either an extended supervision order or a continuing detention order," he said.
"The flaw does not lie with the State Parole Authority but with the legislation that controls the authority."