Parole is a way of letting approved prisoners serve part of their sentence in the community once the Parole Board decides they are not an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community.
Prisoners on parole are usually supervised and must comply with certain conditions in order to remain in the community. These conditions are designed to protect the safety of community members and to monitor prisoners’ circumstances and behaviour.
Parole does not free prisoners from their sentence. Prisoners on parole continue to serve their sentence in the community where they can further their own rehabilitation and restore their relationships.
Victims of crime who are registered with the Victims Register will be notified when an offender lodges an application for parole and invited to make a written submission to the Parole Board within 21 days.
Parole Boards are independent statutory bodies appointed by the Governor in Council. There are three Parole Boards in Queensland; the Queensland Parole Board, Southern Queensland Regional Parole Board and Central and Northern Queensland Regional Parole Board.
The Queensland Parole Board makes decisions on parole for serious offenders serving sentences of eight years or more. The Regional Parole Boards make decisions regarding parole for offenders serving sentences in excess of three years but less than eight years.
The Parole Board’s role is to determine whether eligible offenders are ready for supervised released into the community. Parole orders may include conditions relating to a number of matters, including employment, accommodation, programs to be undertaken and curfews. However these conditions must be to ensure the offender’s good conduct or to stop the offender committing an offence.
Membership of Parole Boards is prescribed by the Corrective Services Act 2006 and must include a president and deputy president, each of whom is either a retired judge or a lawyer who has practiced for at least five years.
Of the other five appointed members, at least one must be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, one must be a doctor or psychologist and at least two must be women. One member is a nominated representative of Queensland Corrective Services.
The required number of members on a regional board is decided by the Minister but must include the president of the Queensland Board, a deputy president and others members with similar qualifications as those on the Queensland Board
People on the Victims Register may lodge a submission to a parole board when the person who offended against them lodges an application for parole.
You will be sent a form, which gives you the opportunity to explain to the parole board why this offender should not be granted early release back into the community.
The information you provide will be for their consideration only. The parole submission allows you to state stipulations (conditions) you would like to see placed on the offender, if the parole board decides on early release.
These include requesting the offender not reside in your neighbourhood or that the offender not be allowed to contact you or your family.
In considering an application for release to a parole order the board holds community safety paramount. The Board takes a number of factors into account, including:
- The nature of the offence
- the offender’s past offences and any patterns of offending;
- the possibility of the offender committing further offences;
- whether the offender has previously been granted an order and if so, whether the offender breached any conditions of that order;
- whether the offender has successfully completed programs of rehabilitation;
The institutional conduct of the offender whilst incarcerated
- The viability of the offender’s relapse prevention and release plans;
- The risk of physical or psychological harm to a member of the community and the degree of risk;
- Any behavioural report relating to the offender; and
The sentencing Judge’s recommendation.