R.01 NZ Parole Board hearing
The following procedures relate only to prison staff responsibilities relating to a parole hearing. The pre-parole hearing procedures are set out in the Case Management Practice Centre.
- These procedures apply to prisoners who have a scheduled parole hearing. Parole is available only for prisoners:
- who are subject to a long-term sentence of imprisonment (more than 24 months)
- who are subject to an indeterminate sentence i.e. life, or preventive detention.
R.01.01 Prisoner / representation attendance at a parole hearing
- The prisoner must attend a New Zealand Parole Board (NZPB) hearing, unless the prisoner has completed the R.01.Form.02 Waiver of right to appear before the NZPB (IOMS) when:
- a prisoner does not make a submission to the NZPB regarding the type of hearing they wish to have, and
- the prisoner decides they don't wish to attend the hearing.
- If the prisoner refuses to attend the hearing and to sign the waiver form, this is to be communicated to the NZPB.
- The prisoner and / or the prisoner's solicitor may be present at the time of the prison employee providing oral evidence or additional information.
- The prisoner may have in attendance a support person if approved by the NZPB.
- The prisoner or prisoner's solicitor may ask questions regarding the evidence or information given by the prison employee.
R.01.02 Management staff attendance at NZPB hearings
- The prison director - or if they are unavailable the assistant prison director or custodial systems manager - must meet with the convening Parole Board prior to a regular or extended hearing to discuss any issues.
- Prison directors do not have to attend NZPB hearings unless they choose to attend or they are specifically requested by the NZPB.
- Unit PCO must attend all NZPB hearings with prisoners from their unit. Where the unit PCO cannot attend, the prison director may approve a replacement staff member to attend instead.
- The prisoner's case manager may provide the unit PCO with a copy of the 'NZPB Briefing Sheet', to update the NZPB on any significant changes to the prisoner's rehabilitative or reintergrative circumstances subsequent to the completion of the Parole Assessment Report.
- Unit PCO from other sites need to approve the NZPB briefing sheet for prisoners attending a hearing, from their unit. The NZPB briefing sheet will be taken to the hearing by the escorting PCO, or alternatively by the unit PCO if they are attending.
R.01.03 Staff attendance at a parole hearing
- The NZPB has two processes available for PS employees to attend a NZPB hearing, they are:
- requesting staff attendance, or
- formally summons.
- When possible, the NZPB will initially request staff attendance.
- Staff are requested or summoned to a parole hearing for the purposes of
- giving evidence, and / or
- to produce any documents, records or things that maybe relevant to the subject matter.
R.01.04 Witness request
- The NZPB can request specific identified staff to attend, and when the NZPB is unsure which employee should attend, the Board Administrator will email the regional commissioner and relevant prison director, a copy of the R.01.Form.01 NZPB Witness request, which details the information required.
- This request must be received a minimum of two weeks notice before an employee is expected to appear at the next parole hearing.
- Within one week of receiving the request from NZPB the prison director must:
- determine the most suitable employee to attend the hearing.
- notify the employee's direct line manager as well as the employee who is required to appear before the NZPB, and
- respond back to the Board Administrator using the R.01.Form.01 NZPB Witness request.
- The prison director must advise the NZPB within 72 hours of the hearing to advise whether the employee will be able to attend the hearing.
- If the specified employee is unavailable or is unwilling to attend, or the most appropriate person is unable to attend, the prison director must provide the NZPB with a clear explanation as to why the original or most appropriate employee is not able to attend the parole hearing.
- The prison director and NZPB will discuss whether:
- the information can be in writing as opposed to having an employee appear
- another suitably knowledgeable staff member can attend, or
- the scheduled hearing date be changed to allow the original employee to attend.
R.01.05 Witness summons
- When the NZPB issues a summons for a PS employee to attend a NZPB hearing, the NZPB is responsible for:
- serving the summons on the nominated employee
- notifying the regional commissioner and prison director (via email) at the prison where the employee is based
- advising the prison director what information is required by the NZPB.
- All costs associated with an employee being summoned will be met by the NZPB as per regulations made under the Summary Proceedings Act 1957.
- If the NZPB requires the attendance of an independent contractor or service provider (i.e. engaged via a Contract For Service and paid via invoice) they must issue a formal summons.
- On receipt of a summons, the contractor may wish to advise the regional commissioner or prison director concerned that they have been summonsed to appear (given the confidentiality clauses included in many of the Department's Contracts for Service).
- If the regional commissioner and prison director are made aware that a contractor within their region has been requested to appear, the prison director may contact Head Office Legal Services to discuss the issue with a solicitor.
- Once the regional commissioner and prison director have been made aware that an employee within their region has been requested to appear, the prison director must contact Head Office Legal Services to arrange for a solicitor to attend the hearing and represent the Department. The cost of the Departmental or external solicitor will be met by the prison.
R.01.06 NZPB recommendations
- The NZPB will inform prison directors and prisoners of hearing outcomes within seven days of the hearing taking place.
- The Department will implement the NZPB recommendations where possible or practicable subject to resources available or legislative constraints including instructions issued under s196 of the Corrections Act 2004.
- However, in the event where it is not possible to implement NZPB recommendations, the case manager will advise the NZPB as soon as is practicable, in writing by way of a specific parole assessment report, providing sufficient detail so as to avoid any perception of deliberate inaction.
- Where the Principal Corrections Officer (PCO) of the prisoner's unit has identified that NZPB recommendations cannot be actioned, they are to email a formal internal memo to the case manager detailing the situation and it should contain the following information:
- prisoner details
- date and location of the prisoners last NZPB hearing.
- summary of NZPB recommendations
- description of recommendation(s) that PS cannot / will not action.
- detailed reason(s) for non-action of recommendation(s).
- proposals for alternate courses of action to be considered by the NZPB (if feasible).
- The contents of the memo will be reviewed by the case manager to check that the above listed requirements have been provided. The prisoner's unit PCO is to provide clarification if requested.
- The case manager will then enter the contents of the memo into the specific parole assessment report under the heading 'Progress made against recommendations'.
- The unit PCO / case manager informs the prisoner that a specific parole assessment report has been completed, and its purpose. There is no requirement for the prisoner to sign the specific parole assessment report in these cases. However, if the prisoner requests a copy one should be provided.
R.01.07 Revocation of NZPB direction for prisoners release
- The prison director can make an application to the NZPB for a direction(s) to revoke parole if the prisoner:
- has been convicted of one or more disciplinary offence, or
- behaviour or circumstances have changed significantly since the direction for release on parole was made.
- The prison director applies by forwarding a report for revocation to the NZPB. This report must be:
- not misleading in any way
- sufficiently detailed to enable the NZPB to make a decision.
- The report must include:
- the prisoner's details
- the offence and sentence details
- details of the last NZPB decision
- detailed reasons why the application is being made, and why the release date should be revoked, demonstrating that the situation which led the NZPB to consider the prisoner suitable for release has changed.
- if misconduct has prompted the application, the report must state whether the misconduct has been proven.
- The prisoner is entitled to a copy of the full report (no omissions) and must receive it with sufficient time to make and submit comments to be considered by NZPB before its decision.
- Prison management should advise the prisoner of the consequences of revocation, and the prisoner should sign the application to acknowledge having seen it.
- When the report is completed it is forwarded to the Regional NZPB Administrator.
- If a situation arises over a weekend or after hours, and there is cause to have the NZPB's direction revoked urgently, the prison director or delegated authority must contact the on-call NZPB Adviser.
- The Adviser will require all information and supporting documentation to be faxed to the NZPB Regional Office.