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The parole system has changed to enable smarter management of parolees to help protect the community.
The parole reform is expected to:
The SPA can only release an offender on parole if it is satisfied that it is in the interests of community safety. In making this decision consideration is given to the following principal matters:
In weighing up any benefits and risks, the SPA considers factors such as:
Registered victims are being notified by the Corrective Services Victims Register when there are important changes to relevant offender’s circumstances in custody, including when an offender is being consider for parole. All registered victims have the right to make a statement to be considered during the SPA decision making process.
More offenders are being placed under supervision as the SPA has more flexibility to reconsider parole for some offenders. For example, an offender whose parole was revoked due to an alcohol or drugs relapse can be reconsidered for parole once their addiction is back under control.
Supervision is a mandatory condition of parole.
Supervision requires an offender to regularly report to and follow reasonable directions from their Community Corrections Officer.
Evidence shows that supervision is the best way to reduce reoffending. We have enhanced our management practices based on international best practice to improve supervision.
During supervision, officers use cognitive and behavioural interventions to challenge an offender's thinking and behaviour and reduce the risk of them returning to crime.
Community Corrections Officers are fully trained and well equipped to manage parolees. They also monitor an offender’s compliance with parole conditions, such as curfews, alcohol and drug testing, ongoing participation in rehabilitation programs or restrictions on where a parolee can go.
A clearer legal framework has been introduced to better manage parole breaches.
Community Corrections have clearer authority to impose penalties for less serious parole breaches, such as reporting late or missing a program session. Penalties are targeted at addressing the cause of the breach and can include imposing curfews, or directing an offender to submit to increased reporting or drug and alcohol testing.
Issues of repeated non-compliance are escalated to the SPA, which can impose more severe sanctions, such as up to 30 days home detention, electronic monitoring or a return to custody.
A new safeguard also gives the SPA power to revoke parole, if the parolee's behaviour raises serious and immediate concerns for the safety of the community - even if there has been no breach of their parole conditions.
The final anticipated change to the parole system will be the introduction of a Reintegration Home Detention Scheme. The scheme will give the SPA the option to transition a small number of eligible and suitable offenders to electronically monitored home detention, in the last six months of their non-parole period. This will provide a structured step-down between prison and parole for these offenders.
The strict conditions of home detention will require an offender to: remain at home, be electronically monitored, submit to alcohol and drugs testing, and participate in rehabilitation programs, employment or community service if directed.
Corrective Services NSW will refer offenders to the SPA for consideration in the scheme and the SPA will apply the community safety test when assessing an offender's suitability.
The scheme will not be available to serious offenders including those serving life sentences, high risk sex or violent offenders, terrorism offenders, child sexual offenders or domestic violence offenders.
It is anticipated that the scheme will be introduced in mid-2018.
To complement these changes to the adult parole system, a new separate legislative framework for juvenile parole has been introduced. The safety of the community and the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile offenders are the priority considerations when making juvenile parole decisions.
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