The Board makes objective, evidence-based and transparent parole decisions. Its independence requires decisions be made in accordance with relevant legislation, common law principles and the Guidelines issued by the Minister; without influence or pressure from external sources.
When considering whether to grant parole the overriding consideration for the Board is community safety; it is the highest priority for the Board in its decision making process. This requires consideration of not only whether there is an unacceptable risk to the community if the prisoner is released to parole, but also whether the risk to the community would be greater if the prisoner ended up having no time under parole supervision before the end of their sentence.
The Parole Manual, developed by the Board, provides an overview of the decision making process undertaken by the Board when fulfilling its statutory functions.
Factors to consider
In assessing a prisoner’s suitability for parole release the Board considers a range of competing factors, including, but not limited to:
- the prisoner’s criminal history and pattern of offending;
- whether there are any circumstances likely to increase the risk the prisoner presents to the community;
- whether the prisoner has been convicted of a serious sexual offence of serious violent offence;
- the parole recommendation of the sentencing court and any comments made by the Judge during the sentence hearing;
- any medical, psychological or psychiatric risk assessment reports relating to the prisoner – tendered at sentence or obtained while the prisoner has been in jail; and
- the prisoner’s behaviour in prison.
The Board also has regard to: whether the prisoner has access to supports or services in the community; whether they have suitable accommodation upon release; and the prisoner’s progress and compliance in undertaking any recommended rehabilitation programs and interventions while in prison.
The submissions of an Eligible Person registered with the Victims’ Register administered by Queensland Corrective Services, is also an important consideration for the Board (section 188, the Corrective Services Act 2006).
The types of conditions that can be attached to a grant of parole are wide and varied. There are certain conditions that must attach to every grant of parole and thereafter, the Board endeavours to tailor a parole order to the particular risk potentially posed by each prisoner (see, sections 200 and 200A, the Corrective Services Act).
Examples of the mandatory conditions that attach to every grant of parole include:
- must report as directed to their supervising Office;
- carry out the lawful instructions issued by their supervising officer;
- give a test sample if required;
- notify of any change of address or employment details; and
- importantly, not to commit an offence.
In terms of tailoring conditions to the individual prisoner, the Board may include any extra conditions it reasonably considers necessary to ensure the prisoner’s good conduct when in the community; or to stop them from committing another offence.
Examples of the types of additional conditions the Board might add include: conditions to target addiction; or to assist with mental health concerns; or to protect victims and children; or to prevent domestic violence.