R.02 Early release for seriously ill prisoner

The purpose of these procedures is to ensure that prisoners who have a serious illness from which they are unlikely to recover are advised that they may be eligible to be considered by the New Zealand Parole Board (NZPB) for early release on compassionate grounds and the process to progress such an application through to the NZPB.

R.02.01 Advice to prisoner of early release on compassionate grounds

  1. The heath centre manager will advise the following personnel, via emailing the HS 5-1-1 Advice of Prisoner Health Status Form once a prisoner is diagnosed with a serious illness and is unlikely to recover:
    1. the prisoner's unit PCO
    2. the prison director
    3. regional commissioner
    4. regional clinical director
    5. National Commissioner Corrections Services
    6. Director Offender Health
    7. Chief Custodial Officer
  2. The unit PCO upon receiving the HS 5-1-1 Advice of Prisoner Health Status Form advising that a prisoner is seriously ill, and is unlikely to recover must provide the prisoner with a copy of R.02.Form.01 Notice to prisoner of compassionate release process. If the prisoner is not capable of making an application themselves, the prison director will make an application on the prisoner's behalf if requested.
  3. The unit PCO must explain to the prisoner their right to apply to the NZPB for release on compassionate grounds. The Unit PCO must make an IOMS offender note (Health) when the R.02.Form.01 Notice to prisoner of compassionate release process was handed to them and that the content was explained to the prisoner.

R.02.02 Applying for compassion release

  1. If the seriously ill and unlikely to recover prisoner wishes to make an application for compassionate release, they will be provided with an R.02.Form.03 Application by prisoner for compassionate release. This form provides the authority for the prison to release information about themselves to NZPB as well as their release plan proposal. Staff will assist the prisoner to complete the application whenever requested.
  2. On receipt of the R.02.Form.03 Application by prisoner for compassionate release, the PCO will advise the prison director to commence the release planning process which includes completing R.02.Form.02 Prison Directors Report to the NZPB for compassionate release application. The PCO will update the IOMS offender note (Health) to record that the prisoner is making, has made (a previous application) or is not making an application for compassionate release.

R.02.03 Assess living arrangements and risks

  1. The prison director must make enquiries with the High Risk Response Team, National Office if the prisoner is identified as High Risk (via email address highriskteam@corrections.govt.nz.).
  2. A prisoner is identified as High Risk if they:
    1. are HRX
    2. meet criteria for Extended Supervision Order
    3. have a ASR score of 5 or more for violent or sexual offences
    4. are a youth (under 20 years of age) with a RoC / RoI of 0.5 (or higher) with violent or sexual convictions, or
    5. are a child sex offender, or
    6. have a high media profile.
  3. The High Risk Response Team will identify any risks to community safety which must be included in their assessment which is to be attached to the prison director’s report.
  4. A request will then be sent to the Manager of the Community Corrections Site nearest to the proposed residence for a probation officer to carry out a suitability assessment of the address. Community Probation will undertake an assessment of the suitability of the address as per the guidance for assessing parole address suitability in the supported decision framework.
  5. This process would include the normal information check with Child Youth and Family as part of the proposed living arrangements check (residential / sponsor check) and will provide the prison director with information regarding any identified risks. The Community Probation assessment, including any recommended release conditions will be attached to the prison director’s report.

R.02.04 Referral and decision of NZPB

  1. The application by the prisoner (R.02.Form.03 Application by prisoner for compassionate release) and the completed prison directors report (R.02.Form.02 Prison Directors Report to the NZPB for compassionate release) and all attachments must be emailed to the Chief Custodial Officer. The R.02.Form.02 Prison Directors Report to the NZPB for compassionate release and the R.02.Form.03 Application by prisoner for compassionate release will be checked and hand delivered to Manager Systems & Compliance, New Zealand Parole Board.
  2. The NZPB is responsible for making the decision on whether the prisoner is to be released, not the Department of Corrections.
  3. If the Chairperson decides to refer the application to the Board then the Board’s decision will be recorded in the Department’s Integrated Offender Management System (IOMS).
  4. If the Chairperson decides not to refer the application to the Board, the Chairperson will write to the prisoner advising of this decision with a copy to the prison director. The prison director will arrange for the IOMS offender note (Health) to be updated detailing the decision of the Chairperson. The Manager Systems & Compliance, New Zealand Parole Board will advise the Chief Custodial Officer.
  5. If the prisoner circumstances change (e.g. they are deceased) that could affect the application, after the referral to NZPB, the prison director must advise the NZPB forthwith.

R.02.05 Applications by a third party

  1. The NZPB will notify the Chief Custodial Officer’s team (via senior operations advisor) when they have received an application for release on compassionate grounds from a third party.
  2. The senior advisor will immediately check if there is a notification via the HS 5-1-1 Advice of Prisoner Health Status Form that the prisoner meets the criteria (seriously ill and unlikely to recover). The senior advisor will:
    1. advise the NZPB if no notification has been made (i.e. does not meet the criteria) or
    2. will contact the prison director if there is notification (i.e. does meet the criteria) to ascertain if the prisoner wishes to make an application.
  3. The senior advisor will advise NZPB if the prisoner:
    1. does not wish to make an application. NZPB will then write to the third party applicant advising such
    2. does wish to make an application and that the process prescribed in R.02.02 Applying for compassionate release above will be commenced (an application / authority from the prisoner and a report from the prison director will be provided to the Chairperson.