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Changes to the parole system are enabling 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:
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 now 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 within the existing 12 month administrative cap. For example, an offender whose parole was revoked due to an alcohol or drugs relapse will be able to be reconsidered for parole once their addiction is back under control.
Supervision requires an offender to regularly report to and obey directions from their Community Corrections Officer.
Under the reforms, supervision will be a mandatory condition. Evidence shows that combined with interventions, supervision is the best way to reduce reoffending. New guidelines, based on international best practice, have been implemented to improve supervision.
During supervision, officers use cognitive and behavioural interventions to address the risk that the offender will return to crime.
Community Correction Officers are fully trained and well equipped to manage parolees. They also monitor an offender’s compliance with any parole conditions required, such as curfews, ongoing participation in rehabilitation programs or restrictions on where a parolee can go.
More than 200 new officers are being recruited to boost capacity to reduce reoffending.
There will be new options for the SPA to transition a small number of 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, drugs tested, and participate in rehabilitation programs, employment or community service.
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.
A clearer legal framework will be introduced to better manage parole breaches.
Community Corrections will have clearer authority to impose sanctions for lower level parole breaches, such as reporting late or missing a program session. Penalties will include options such as curfews, increased reporting and drug and alcohol testing.
Issues of repeated non-compliance will continue to be escalated to the SPA, which can impose more severe sanctions, such as home detention, electronic monitoring or a return to custody.
New safeguards will also give the SPA power to revoke an offender's parole, regardless of whether a breach has been committed, if there is evidence of a serious and immediate risk to victims or community safety.
There will be a new, separate legislative framework for juvenile parole. The safety of the community and the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile offenders will be the priority considerations when making parole decisions.
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