The Parole Act allows for the compassionate release of an offender, if they have given birth to a child or are seriously ill and unlikely to recover.
Compassionate releases are not initiated by the Board. An application must be made in writing, along with supporting medical opinion, to be considered.
The legislation sets out clear guidelines for the New Zealand Parole Board to follow.
The Board acts very quickly on compassionate release applications, as they almost always involve terminal illness.
In such cases, the Board chairperson generally makes a referral on the day an application is received and a panel considers it soon afterwards.
As always, the Board assesses community safety in making its decision and can impose standard and special conditions on release, including residential restrictions.
Where applications for compassionate release are declined, offenders are free to apply for reconsideration by the Board at any point should their circumstances change.
Statistics on the number of compassionate releases approved by the Board each year can be found in its annual reports.