How the Board Decides

By law, the Board must take into account a range of issues when considering whether or not to release a prisoner on parole. Release considerations which guide the Board's decisions are found in Sections 5A and 5B of the Sentence Administration Act 2003.

Each parole case is thoroughly discussed by members who make a risk assessment to consider the degree of risk that the release of the prisoner would appear to present to the personal safety of a person or people in the community. This assessment includes any likelihood of the prisoner committing an offence when subject to an early release order and the likely nature and seriousness of any such offence.

The chair of the meeting ensures that all the information is considered and that the final decision is supported by evidence from the reports and the parole plan.

Most decisions are agreed by all Board members; otherwise they are supported by a majority of members.

When the Board makes a decision to deny parole, it sets out the reasons for the decision in a letter sent to the prisoner. In most cases the letter is emailed to the prison on the same day the decision is made.

If parole is granted the prisoner receives a Parole Order setting out the date of release, the reasons for release and the specific conditions the prisoner has to meet whilst on parole in the community. The prisoner is placed under the supervision of a Community Corrections Officer. The prisoner must abide by certain conditions so they can stay in the community. Any condition imposed by the Board aims to protect the safety of the community. If a prisoner breaches any of these conditions, they could be sent back to prison.

People on parole are supported in their return to the community by participating in counselling or other services which can assist them establish a positive lifestyle. If they lose their job or home, it is considered that there is a higher chance of them re-offending.

People on parole also need to meet regularly with their Community Corrections Officer, who will make sure that they are doing the right thing and motivate and encourage them to continue to become positive members of the community.

If parole is refused, the prisoner can ask in writing for a review of that decision but there are strict limits on how reviews work. For more information regarding reviews, please see the ‘when parole is denied’ page.

Last updated: 15-Jul-2020

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