The Adult Parole Board will decide if you are released on parole at the end of your minimum sentence or at any time up to the end of your maximum term. Everyone released on parole gets a list of standard conditions, and many people get special conditions. The Board can revoke a parole order on breach of those conditions and order the arrest of the parolee. If your parole is revoked, you won’t get credit for the time spent on the street. So if you have 12 months to serve and you are out for 11 months, you will have to do the full 12 months.
What the Board considers
According to their annual report, the Parole Board consider the following when deciding whether or not to grant a prisoner parole:
- nature and circumstances of the offence(s) (such as whether it was a violent crime or sex offence)
- comments made by the sentencing court
- prior criminal history
- assessment of the potential risk to the community if you are released from custody
- release plans and whether suitable accommodation is available
- assessments and recommendations made by appropriate professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and Community Corrections Officers
- submissions made by you, your family, friends and potential employers, or any other relevant individuals
- written submissions made by the victim(s) or by persons related to the victim(s).
- records regarding your conduct while in custody and whether there have been any positive drug tests
- willingness to participate in relevant programs and courses while in custody
There is no formal avenue for appeal of a decision of the Board and you do not have a right to written reasons for a refusal of parole. You can request the Board review their decision in writing, or someone can do this on your behalf. Note, the Parole Board has recently received a four-year extension of their exemption from compliance with the Human Rights Charter.
Very soon after you are convicted you will be assessed as part of a process called a Tier 1 Assessment. This is done by Corrections and not the Parole Board. You might not be told this is a formal assessment, it may seem to just be someone asking you general questions. The assessment may however lead to you being rated as having a High, Medium of Low risk of re-offending. You will then be recommended to do some programs to address your offending behaviour. If you are assessed as a High or Medium risk, or depending on the type of offence you were convicted of, they will do a Tier 2 Assessment and then they will make more detailed recommendations about what programs you should do.
When it comes time for your parole to be considered, the first thing the Board looks at is what programs you have been recommended as needing to do, whether you have done it, and what the program report says. The sooner you can have the assessments done and the sooner you can get into a program and finish it with a good report, the better your chances of parole will be. Do not assume you will get parole if it is your first time – you will have to work at getting parole, it will not happen on its own.
Access to programs can be difficult because more people are recommended for programs than spaces on the program. At Fulham for example, they issue prisoners with a numbered receipt of when they asked to do a program and their place on the waiting list. This is important to show the Parole Board if it is not your fault you could not complete a program. You may have to fill out a form to get into a program, or the clinical staff might arrange it. If you do not hear anything for a while, make sure you follow it up. Refer to the “Getting Parole” self-help kit.
Adult Parole Board
Level 4, 444 Swanston Street
Carlton VIC 3053
Phone 9094 2111
Or DX 211768 (Melbourne) – No stamp is required for DX mail
This fact sheet contains general information only and is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice. If you would like advice regarding a specific problem please contact one of the legal services listed in contacts or contact the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral Service on 9607 9311.