R.01 NZ Parole Board hearing

The following procedures relate primarily to custodial staff responsibilities relating to a parole hearing.

The Case Management Practice Centre contains detailed pre-parole and parole hearing guidance for case managers.

Parole criteria

  1. These procedures apply to prisoners who have a scheduled parole hearing. Parole is available only for prisoners:
    1. who are subject to a long-term sentence of imprisonment (more than 24 months)
    2. who are subject to an indeterminate sentence i.e. life, or preventive detention.

R.01.01 Prisoner attendance / support at a parole hearing

  1. 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:
    1. a prisoner does not make a submission to the NZPB regarding the type of hearing they wish to have, and
    2. the prisoner decides they don't wish to attend the hearing.
  2. If the prisoner refuses to attend the hearing and to sign the waiver form, this is to be communicated to the NZPB.
  3. The prisoner may have in attendance a support person / people if approved by the NZPB and there is no reason for the prison to deny the person / people entry as a support person.
  4. The prisoner may have in attendance their lawyer / solicitor.
Watch Point

An NZPB hearing is not a private visit, so support people do not necessarily have to be approved visitors for a prison to approve admittance for this support purpose.

The NZPB requires support people to be adults and define this as 16 years old and over.  Children are not permitted.

R.01.02 Prison management attendance at NZPB hearings

  1. 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.
  2. Prison directors do not have to attend NZPB hearings unless they choose to attend, or they are specifically requested by the NZPB.

R.01.03 Custodial attendance at a NZPB parole hearings

  1. The Unit Principal Corrections Officer (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.
  2. The Unit PCO / replacement staff member will attend with prisoners from their unit to answer any questions that may arise regarding the prisoners conduct, behaviour and general management in their unit.

Information from the Unit PCO and case management representative allows for a more holistic understanding of the individual appearing.

A case management representative must also attend with prisoners to answer any questions that may arise regarding the prisoner's rehabilitative or reintegrative circumstances and or information provided in the Parole Assessment Report.

R.01.04 Other employee attendance at NZPB hearing(s)

  1. The NZPB can either request the attendance of corrections employees (other than Unit PCO or case management representatives) at a NZPB hearing, or can summons those corrections employees.
  2. When possible, the NZPB will initially request staff attendance.
  3. Staff are requested or summoned to a parole hearing for the purposes of:
    1. giving evidence, and/or
    2. to produce any documents, records or things that maybe relevant to the subject matter.
  4. The prisoner or prisoner's solicitor may ask questions regarding the evidence, documents, records or things that maybe relevant to the hearing.

R.01.04.01 NZPB request employee attendance

  1. 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.
  2. This request must be received a minimum of two weeks notice before an employee is expected to appear at the next parole hearing.
  3. Within one week of receiving the request from NZPB the prison director must:
    1. determine the most suitable employee to attend the hearing.
    2. notify the employee's direct line manager as well as the employee who is required to appear before the NZPB, and
    3. respond back to the Board Administrator using the R.01.Form.01 NZPB Witness request.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The prison director and NZPB will discuss whether:
    1. the information can be in writing as opposed to having an employee appear
    2. another suitably knowledgeable staff member can attend, or
    3. the scheduled hearing date be changed to allow the original employee to attend.

R.01.04.02 NZPB summons employee attendance

  1. When the NZPB issues a summons for a corrections employee (other than Unit PCO or case manager) to attend a NZPB hearing, the NZPB is responsible for:
    1. serving the summons on the nominated employee
    2. notifying the regional commissioner and prison director (via email) at the prison where the employee is based
    3. advising the prison director what information is required by the NZPB.
  2. All costs associated with an employee being summoned will be met by the NZPB as per regulations made under the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.
  3. 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 summons.
  4. On receipt of a summons, the contractor or service provider must 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).
  5. If the regional commissioner and prison director are made aware that a contractor or service provider within their region has been requested or summoned to appear, the prison director must contact Head Office Legal Services to discuss the issue with a solicitor.
  6. The prison director and Head Office Legal Services will determine if there is a need for a solicitor to provide guidance and support to the employee.
  7. Head Office Legal Services will also determine if their attendance is required at the hearing, to represent the Department. The cost of the Departmental or external solicitor will be met by the prison.

R.01.05 NZPB recommendations

  1. The NZPB will inform prison directors and prisoners of hearing outcomes within seven days of the hearing taking place.
  2. The Department will implement the NZPB recommendations (such as relevant activities to complete) where possible or practicable subject to resources available or legislative constraints including instructions issued under s196 of the Corrections Act 2004.

Where it is not possible to implement NZPB recommendations, case management will advise the NZPB as soon as is practicable, in writing, by way of either a PAR Addendum or Abbreviated PAR report.

Where the unit PCO identifies NZPB recommendations are not able to be actioned, they are to advise case management and work with them, when required, regarding information that may be needed for the PAR Addendum or Abbreviated PAR report. E.g. reasons recommendation cannot be implemented, alternative options etc.

R.01.06 Revocation of NZPB direction for prisoner's release

  1. The NZPB may revoke or amend any direction it has made, including that a prisoner be paroled, at any time before the prisoner is released on parole. If the Board does so, it must hold another parole hearing as soon as practicable (s 28(5) Parole Act 2002).
  2. The prison director can make an application to the NZPB for a direction(s) to revoke parole if the prisoner:
    1. has been convicted of one or more disciplinary offence, or
    2. behaviour or circumstances have changed significantly since the direction for release on parole was made.
  3. The prison director applies by forwarding a report for revocation to the NZPB. This report must be:
    1. factual
    2. accurate
    3. not misleading in any way
    4. sufficiently detailed to enable the NZPB to make a decision.
  4. The report must include:
    1. the prisoner's details
    2. the offence and sentence details
    3. details of the last NZPB decision
    4. 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.
    5. if misconduct has prompted the application, the report must state whether the misconduct has been proven.
  5. The prisoner is entitled to a copy of the full report and must receive it with enough time to make and submit comments to be considered by NZPB before its decision.
  6. Prison management must advise the prisoner of the consequences of a revocation, and the prisoner should sign the report to acknowledge having seen it.
  7. When the report is completed it is forwarded to the NZPB Administrator.
  8. 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.
  9. The Adviser will require all information and supporting documentation to be scanned and emailed to the NZPB Head Office.