The Hearing Process
Offenders do not apply for parole.
1. An offenders hearing is scheduled according to his or her parole eligibility date.
2. The Board's administration notifies the offender and registered victims of a pending hearing, and invites them to make submissions.
3. The Board requests and receives background information and a parole assessment report from the Department of Corrections.
4. Offenders can make a written submission prior to the hearing.
5. Victims registered on the Victim Notification Register can make written and or oral submissions. Oral submissions are heard separately, without the offender present and always at a separate location - not at the prison.
6. A panel of the Board meets with the offender and any supporters. The panel considers all written information, and any oral submissions heard.
7. The panel makes a decision. The reasons for the decision in writing are provided to the offender. Every person who was notified of the offender's pending hearing will be advised of the outcome.
8. Registered victims will receive an edited copy of the Board's reasons for the decision.
Hearings are conducted in the manner of an enquiry.
There is no set length of time for a hearing. Sometimes they can be quite short, but generally they are about half an hour. It depends on what needs to be explored and who is present. Hearings are held either in person in the prison, or by video link, with the offender, Corrections staff, supporters and lawyer (with prior Board permission). Victims do not attend offender hearings.
Hearings can also be unattended. This is where the offender is not present, but a hearing is still conducted.
An offender is able to waive their right to attend their hearing but must do this in writing. Even if the offender waives their appearance, the hearing itself will continue. The offender can still make a written submission.
The Board decides who will attend hearings and who will speak. The Board does on occassions allow media representatives to attend some hearings and report on proceedings.
When the Board is deliberating only the members and the Board's administrator are present in the hearing room. All other persons, including the offender, must leave.
Panel members will ask the offender questions including but not limited to:
- progress in prison;
- courses undertaken;
- the offences that brought the offender to prison;
- plans if released, including risk mitigation.
Where the Board has met with registered victims it may report to the offender on what the victim(s) have said in their oral submission,
If the offender has supporters present, the Board may direct questions and invite them to speak. Corrections staff may also provide comment.
Just because an offender is eligible for parole, it does not mean they will be released.
Immediately following the discussion with the offender, supporters and Corrections staff, the Board will deliberate alone to consider its decision. The Board will then invite the offender and others attending the hearing back into the room to deliver its decision. If the decision is to release, the offender will be told of the release date and conditions that must be adhered to.
Reasons for the decision will be provided to the offender, normally within a few days.
If parole is declined the offender and registered victims will be advised if the approximate date for the offender's next hearing.
Registered victims will receive an edited copy of the reasons in due course.