M.04.06 Temporary release

Temporary release is the release of a prisoner from the custody of the Department of Corrections while still serving a prison sentence.

Temporary release is primarily a tool to be used to support and enable a prisoner’s reintegration into the community when they are released.

The release to work programme is a type of temporary release and the same legislative and decision making framework applies. However, it has separate procedures which can be found in M.04.07 Release to Work.

M.04.06.01 Prisoners eligible to be temporarily released

  1. Only prisoners who are specified in regulation 26 of the Corrections Regulations 2005 can be temporarily released.
  2. These prisoners are:
    1. Minimum security prisoners who:
      1. are serving a sentence of 24 months or less; or
      2. are serving a sentence of more than 24 months and have reached their parole eligibility date; or
      3. were sentenced to a determinate sentence of imprisonment prior to 1 July 2002 for a “serious violent offence”,[1] are not eligible for parole, and are within 12 months of their sentence end date.
    2. Low and low-medium security prisoners who have a release date set by the New Zealand Parole Board.
    3. All prisoners whose release is required to assist Police in relation to the prevention, investigation and detection of offences, and who consent to such temporary release.
    4. All prisoners whose release is required to assist Police to exercise powers under sections 32 or 33 of the Policing Act 2008 (assistance with the identification of suspects).

[1] A “serious violent offence” for these purposes is sexual violation (Crimes Act 1961, s 128), manslaughter (s 171), attempted murder (s 173), wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (s 188(1)), wounding with intent to injure (s 188(2)), injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (s 189(1)), injuring with intent to injure (s 189(2)), using a firearm against law enforcement officer, etc (s 198A), commission of crime with firearm (s 189B), robbery (s 234), aggravated robbery (s 235).

M.04.06.02 Temporary release purposes

  1. Prisoners may be released on temporary release if it is:
    1. for a purpose specified in regulation 29 of the Corrections Regulations 2005, and
    2. to facilitate the achievement of one or more of the objectives in section 62(2)(a) of the Corrections Act 2004 (see M.04.06.03 Objectives of temporary release).
  2. These purposes are listed in the table at M.04.06.17 IOMS Temporary release purpose table.
  3. Temporary release may be to an approved programme centre for up to a maximum of 16 weeks. The approved programme centres are listed in M.04.06.Res.05 Approved programme centres.
  4. If the proposed temporary release does not fall into one of the purposes listed above, but would still facilitate the achievement of one or more of the objectives in section 62(2)(a) of the Corrections Act 2004 (see M.04.06.03 Objectives of temporary release) it can still be approved in exceptional circumstances under section 62(2)(b) of the Corrections Act 2004. This approval can only be given by the Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections.

M.04.06.03 Objectives of temporary release

  1. The purpose of the temporary release must facilitate one or more of the following objectives specified in section 62(2)(a) of the Corrections Act 2004:
    1. the rehabilitation of the prisoner and his or her successful reintegration into the community
    2. the compassionate or humane treatment of the prisoner or his or her family
    3. furthering the interests of justice.

M.04.06.04 Initiating an application for temporary release

  1. An eligible prisoner can apply to be considered for temporary release at any time.
  2. Despite eligible prisoners being able to apply for consideration at any time, temporary release to meet the objective of the rehabilitation or successful reintegration of the prisoner should form part of a prisoner’s planned reintegration. When planning for a prisoner’s reintegration into the community, the prisoner’s case manager and case officer should consider how the prisoner would benefit from a reintegration plan which utilised temporary release.
  3. If the prisoner’s case officer and/or case manager consider that a prisoner would benefit from temporary release forming part of a prisoner’s reintegration plan, they should raise it at a Right Track meeting for discussion.

M.04.06.05 Application for temporary release

  1. Staff should commence an application for temporary release when asked to do so by the prisoner, the prisoner’s case officer or case manager, the Senior Corrections Officer of the prisoner’s unit, the Principal Corrections Officer of the prisoner’s unit or any manager of the prison.
  2. At all times while completing an application for submission to the decision maker, staff should raise any concerns or issues they have about the prisoner applying for temporary release with their senior custodial or case management staff.
  3. All requests for temporary releases are, in the first instance, completed in the following order:
    1. Complete the M.04.06.Form.06 Application for temporary release (including guided release and release to work), including attachment of the necessary documentation specified in the form. To complete this form you should consult the prisoner’s case officer and case manager to ensure they can contribute to the application.
    2. Complete the Temporary Release Application Details on IOMS (use M.04.06.Form.05 Licence for temporary release from custody if IOMS is not available).
    3. Complete the M.04.06.Form.04 Department of Corrections sponsorship verification on IOMS and send it to the Service Manager at the Community Corrections site closest to the proposed area of release. Probation who will contact the sponsor and conduct an assessment.
    4. Maintain the ‘checklist’ screen / tab on IOMS as relevant.
    5. Ensure that the prisoner’s photograph on IOMS is no more than 3 months old.
  4. The person compiling the application should consider the framework in M.04.06.Res.03 Temporary release decision making framework to ensure the decision maker has sufficient information to make a robust assessment of the application.
  5. Temporary releases to the police for remand prisoners should not be entered on IOMS but completed in paper form only.
  6. A prisoner's temporary release application must be managed in a way that reflects the urgency of the application.
  7. All documentation relating to the temporary release should be placed on the prisoner’s penal file.

M.04.06.06 Requesting information from MVCOT

  1. Prison or Community Probation staff may request information held by Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki (MVCOT). (Department of Corrections and CYFS March 2004 agreement).
  2. The information may be relevant to the proposed activity for which an application for temporary release has been made, or
    1. the address at which the prisoner proposes to reside during that temporary release and includes:
      1. the prisoner’s domestic situation, child custody and child access rights
      2. any relevant court orders or convictions relating to a child or young person in respect of a prisoner
      3. any safety and welfare issues in relation to children or young persons who live at a residence where a prisoner applying for a temporary release is proposing to be accommodated; and
      4. information about a female prisoner regarding her suitability as a caregiver where the prisoner is due to give birth or has recently given birth.

M.04.06.07 Checking the temporary release sponsor

  1. Probation staff must provide the prison with a report on:
    1. the suitability of the proposed sponsor to supervise the prisoner
    2. the proposed address where the prisoner intends to reside during their temporary release (if the release involves an overnight stay)
    3. the impact the release is likely to have on any other persons including any victim(s); and
    4. whether there are protection or restraining order issues (e.g. if the proposed sponsor has, or has had, a protection or restraining order against the prisoner). If the proposed sponsor has a current protection or restraining order against the prisoner then temporary release should not be approved.
    5. if the prisoner is subject to the CSO Register the probation officer should contact the National CSO Registry for any relevant information (CSORegistry@police.govt.nz).
  2. If the prisoner is a resident in a Whare Oranga Ake, appointed services providers can fulfil the role of their sponsor.
  3. The prison director or regional commissioner will determine the suitability of the sponsor when deciding whether to approve the temporary release. They will make this decision on the basis of the report provided and any other relevant information.

M.04.06.08 The decision on a temporary release application

  1. Only a regional commissioner may authorise a temporary release of more than 12 hours. A prison director may authorise a temporary release of less than 12 hours. These powers must not be delegated.
  2. The ‘no surprises’ obligation requires regional commissioners to notify the National Commissioner at the time when an application for a temporary release of more than 12 hours is received, and to then notify the National Commissioner whether or not the temporary release is authorised.
  3. Regional commissioners and prison directors must receive advice from the advisory panel before authorising any temporary release.
  4. The decision maker will be guided by the decision making framework in POM M.04.06.Res.03 Temporary release decision making framework.
  5. The prison director will also assess what conditions the prisoner should be subject to while on release to work, including whether they should be subject to GPS. The prison director will use M.04.06.Res.03 Temporary release decision making framework when considering what conditions to impose.

M.04.06.09 Recording the decision

  1. The prison director and regional commissioner must keep a record of their decisions made relating to all applications for temporary release. This record should include, but is not limited to:
    1. the result of the application; and
    2. the rationale for the decision including the factors considered and the people consulted during the decision making process.

M.04.06.10 Actions to be undertaken when an application is declined

  1. If the application is declined by the decision maker, the prisoner must be advised of the decision and the rationale for it in writing.
  2. Complaints by prisoners about a decision on a temporary release application may be made by the usual prisoner complaints process.
  3. If the application is refused, the prisoner’s case officer or case manager should have a discussion with the prisoner about why the application was declined and what their next steps should be.

M.04.06.11 Actions to be undertaken when an application is approved

Communication with the prisoner and completion of IOMS requirements

  1. If the temporary release application is approved by the decision maker the prisoner must be made aware of the nature of the approval and any conditions that have been imposed on their temporary release.
  2. Any conditions set by the decision maker must be entered onto IOMS in the relevant section.
  3. The checklist in the application section on IOMS must be maintained as relevant.
  4. Any approval of a temporary release must specify a fixed duration for the release. The prisoner must not be approved to travel by air during their temporary release.

Surrendering passports, up to date photographs and GPS monitoring

  1. Prior to the prisoner’s release on temporary release, staff must take steps to inquire whether the prisoner has surrendered any current New Zealand passport or foreign passport, and any other travel documentation, to the prison.
  2. Prior to the prisoner’s release on temporary release, staff must ensure that the prisoner’s IOMS photograph is no more than 3 months old.
  3. Prior to the prisoner’s release on temporary release, staff must ensure that the necessary processes are in place for the prisoner to be subject to GPS monitoring while on temporary release (if that is a condition of the release).

Notification to the sponsor of the temporary release approval

  1. All prisoner sponsors must be notified in writing prior to each temporary release of the arrangements and conditions of the temporary release and what action to take if the prisoner's behaviour gives cause for concern.
  2. This notification is provided by way of letter: M.04.06.Form.07 Temporary Release letter to sponsor generated through IOMS (only use the manual M.04.06.Form.07 Temporary Release Letter to Sponsor when IOMS is not available).
  3. Sponsors must respond to this notification for the temporary release to go ahead.

Notification of the temporary release to the police / VNR / CSO

  1. The Police must be notified of the prisoner’s temporary release using M.04.06.Form.01 Notification to the Police of a temporary release from prison custody.
  2. The custodial systems manager (or other authorised delegate) may disclose the following information to the Police:
    1. the date of the temporary release and the place from which the person was released
    2. the conditions of the person’s temporary release (whether imposed on release or imposed subsequently).
  3. Registered victims must also be advised of any impending temporary releases in accordance with POM C.05.02 Notification to Victim Coordinators and Parole Board. The prisoner’s case officer should ensure the VNR co-ordinator has the necessary information to notify the registered victims.
  4. The Police must be notified when Registered Child Sex Offenders are being temporarily released.  The custodial systems manager (or other authorised delegate) must complete the CSO section on form M.04.06.Form.01 Notification to the Police of a temporary release from prison.

M.04.06.12 Release of the prisoner

  1. A prisoner who has been approved a temporary release to a district remote from the prison in which they are held, may first be transferred to the prison nearest to the temporary release location, where this is considered appropriate.
  2. The staff member processing the prisoner’s release must ensure that the conditions on the prisoner’s release licence are in line with the conditions directed by the decision maker and that the prisoner’s IOMS photograph is less than 3 months old.
  3. The staff member processing the prisoner’s release must make every effort to ensure that the prisoner is aware of, and understands, the conditions attached to their temporary release, prior to the start of the temporary release.
  4. The M.04.06.Form.05 Licence for temporary release from custody must be issued to, and signed by, the prisoner on the day of the temporary release. The prisoner must be advised that they must carry the temporary release licence document with him or her at all times during the duration of the temporary release.
  5. A signed copy of the licence is to be placed on the prisoner's file and sent to the Gate-House / Control-Room.
  6. Each site must have procedures in place to record the departure, return and any incidents relating to a prisoner on a temporary release.

M.04.06.13 Briefing the sponsor on their responsibilities

  1. The prisoner must be collected by their specified sponsor(s).
  2. The sponsor who collects the prisoner for temporary release must be briefed before they leave the prison. Staff must ensure that the sponsor understands their responsibilities and that they understand the conditions the prisoner is subject to while on temporary release. When the briefing officer is satisfied that the sponsor understands their responsibilities they must get the sponsor to sign the prisoner’s release licence.
  3. The officer briefing the sponsor should be satisfied that:
    1. all the sponsors named on the M.04.06.Form.05 Licence for temporary release from custody are present to collect the prisoner (check their photo identification)
    2. all the sponsors understand the conditions of the temporary release and the prisoner’s itinerary before they sign the M.04.06.Form.05 Licence for temporary release from custody
    3. all the sponsors understand that they are responsible for monitoring the prisoner’s compliance with the conditions of the temporary release and must contact the prison if they have any concerns about the prisoner’s behaviour during the temporary release
    4. all the sponsors understand that they may be contacted by the prison at any time during the prisoner’s temporary release on the telephone numbers provided; and
    5. all the sponsors understand that they must inform prison staff immediately if a prisoner breaches his or her temporary release conditions, or if there are any behavioural or safety issues.

M.04.06.14 Actions to be undertaken while the prisoner is on temporary release

  1. The prison director or regional commissioner will impose appropriate conditions on the prisoner about them being contacted during their temporary release.
  2. Officers must follow these conditions and contact the prisoner as required. During the telephone calls the officer must speak to the prisoner and the prisoner’s sponsor to confirm the progress of the temporary release.
  3. This process must be overseen by a residential manager or, after hours and on weekends, the on-call manager.

M.04.06.15 Actions to be undertaken following the temporary release

  1. Following the prisoner’s temporary release, a report should be obtained from the prisoner’s sponsor on the prisoner’s behaviour during the temporary release. This report can be used to form part of a subsequent application for temporary release or to aid discussion with the prisoner about their progress.

M.04.06.16 Suspected breach of temporary release conditions or suspicion that the prisoner is unlawfully at large

  1. If a staff member has any reason to believe that a prisoner on temporary release has breached their temporary release conditions or is unlawfully at large they should:
    1. notify the prison director or on-call manager and discuss the reason the staff member believes the prisoner is unlawfully at large. They will assume responsibility for the management of the incident and advise the staff member on the appropriate next steps.
  2. The prison director or on-call manager should do the following, or instruct a staff member to do so:
    1. notify the police and provide them with all relevant information; and
    2. notify the Incident Line (0800 555 500).
    3. Contact the VNR co-ordinator who will manage the most appropriate and timely notification to registered victims. The VNR co-ordinator should liaise with the Police during this process.
  3. A prisoner is deemed to be unlawfully at large under section 63(3) of the Corrections Act 2004 during the period of their temporary release if:
    1. the prisoner has breached any of their release conditions requiring them to stay at any place or within any geographical area, to stay with a particular person or group, or to attend a particular programme or course; or
    2. they have not returned to the prison after the expiry of their release period; or
    3. they have not returned to the prison after being directed to return.
  4. The custodial systems manager, assistant prison director or prison director may direct the return of the prisoner to the prison at any time.
  5. These appropriate delegated authorities should consider whether to direct the return of the prisoner when any issues arise during the period of the temporary release. They should refer to the guidance contained in M.04.06.Res.06 Decision making guide to instigate emergency response or to direct prisoner returns to prison.

M.04.06.17 IOMS Temporary release purpose table

  1. The following table details the temporary release purposes and sub categories for use when creating an application on IOMS:
  2. Reg 29 Reference IOMS Application Type IOMS Secondary Purpose (POM Reference)
    1 (a) Recognise or maintain a family relationship or a friendship to visit the prisoner’s family
    to visit a member of the prisoner’s family, or a close friend who is seriously ill or incapacitated
    to accompany a seriously ill member of the prisoner’s family to medical treatment, and support the family member at the treatment
    to attend the funeral, tangi, or subsequent ceremonial commemoration of the death (for example, the unveiling of a headstone) of a family member or close friend
    to visit a person with whom the prisoner is in a close relationship, where the continuation of that relationship is in jeopardy
    to meet the needs of the prisoner’s family if the prisoner is seriously ill and unlikely to recover
    to recognise or maintain a family relationship or friendship
    other reason to recognise or maintain a family relationship or a friendship
    1 (b) Obtain medical, or other, assessment or treatment to attend any agency for assessment or treatment of the prisoner’s rehabilitative or re-integrative needs
    to obtain, whether by appointment or otherwise, medical, surgical, or dental assessment or treatment that is not available in the prison
    to have a tattoo removed (including any pre-procedure assessments and post-procedure checks)
    to obtain other medical, or other, assessment or treatment
    1 (c) Give birth, or to attend the birth of the prisoner’s child, or visit the prisoner’s newborn child to give birth
    to attend birth of prisoner’s child
    to visit prisoner’s newborn child
    1 (d) Engage with, take part in, or attend a religious, community, cultural, educational, recreational, service, or sporting group activity, or event to attend a community facility for educational, cultural, or recreational purposes
    to attend a religious service or a religious activity
    to be involved in a community project or other re-integrative activity in association with staff or members of service clubs, religious or cultural groups, or other community organisations
    to participate in an outdoor pursuit activity
    to participate in a sports team, or play sport as a member of a club or team participating in a local competition, or attend a sporting event as a spectator
    1 (e) (i) Undertake an activity that supports the rehabilitative or re-integrative needs of the prisoner to attend a family group conference
    1 (e) (i) to attend a restorative justice conference
    1 (e) (ii) to attend a programme at an approved agency for assessment or treatment of the prisoner’s rehabilitative or re-integrative needs
    1 (e) (iii) to seek paid employment (whether directly with a prospective employer or through an agency)
    1 (e) (iv) to seek or receive vocational training
    1 (e) to undertake any other activity that support the rehabilitative or re-integrative needs of the prisoner
    1 (f) (i) Prepare for the possibility of release to engage an agency or person that will support the prisoner on release
    1 (f) (i) to obtain from family or friends personal property where this cannot be done by other means and the property is reasonably required before the prisoner’s release
    1 (f) (ii) to purchase clothing, equipment or possessions which is reasonably required before the prisoner's release
    1 (f) to visit a community facility for educational, cultural, or recreational purposes as part of preparing for release
    to be temporarily removed for any other reason to prepare for the possibility of release
    2 (a)Undertake paid employmentto undertake non-self employment
    to undertake self employment
    2 (b)Assist Police in relation to the prevention, investigation, and detection of offencesto assist Police in relation to the prevention, investigation, and detection of offences
    2 (c)Enable Police to exercise powers under section 32 or 33 of the Policing Act 2008to identify particulars of person in custody (Policing Act 2008 s.32)
    to identify particulars for summons (Policing Act 2008 s.33)