Korrey Teeati COOK - 13/07/2017
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Korrey Teeati COOK
Hearing: 13 July 2017 at [Withheld]
Members of the Board:
- Judge A Kiernan (Panel Convenor)
- Ms F Pimm
- Mr P Elenio
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. Korrey Cook aged 41 is serving a total six year nine month sentence for violence and drug offending. His sentence end date is 12 January 2019. He is currently a low security classification.
2. Mr Cook has a significant criminal history stretching back over 20 years and violence features in many of his previous convictions. [Withheld].
3. Mr Cook was represented by counsel, [Withheld], at this hearing and supported by [Withheld] of [Withheld], [Withheld], and Kaumautua, [Withheld].
4. Mr Cook was seeking release on parole. He had written an articulate letter to the Board emphasising work completed on rehabilitation through a number of programmes. He made clear he has distanced himself now from the [Withheld], but reintegration has been difficult to achieve. [Withheld], which was a previous potential parole address, is not an option in his view because of potential contact with past associates. Mr Cook has work available to him in [Withheld] driving trucks. He will need a Class 4 licence but could achieve that quickly on release with the assistance of [Withheld]. Mr Cook has presented a detailed release plan. He is approaching the end of his studies to attain a BA in psychology.
5. The Parole Assessment Report notes graduation from the rehabilitation programme for high risk offenders and that a reintegration hui was held on 8 June 2017. Mr Cook presented his release plan at that hui. The report notes that the proposed address on release is now [Withheld]. It seemed that address was only available for a short period but an addendum report confirms that it is available indefinitely.
6. The Board also has the benefit of a psychological assessment report dated 6 April 2017 and indeed there was a previous report dated 4 April 2016. The 2017 report notes the beginning of a feasible release plan and does recommend the hui which has now been held. The report also notes that Mr Cook is assessed as at high risk of general and violent reoffending and also quotes from the comments of the psychologist running the rehabilitation programme for high risk offenders which Mr Cook engaged in from March this year, and indeed completed in June. This programme was an alternative to the [Withheld] programme for which Mr Cook was unsuitable due to an identified safety issue. The report also noted the recommendation made previously that Mr Cook consider release to a residential rehabilitation programme such as Moana House to ensure the maintenance of new skills, attitudes and behaviours acquired as a result of attending his departmental programmes.
7. [Withheld]’s written submissions on behalf of Mr Cook emphasised the protective factors including the support of his parents who offer their accommodation, friends, an employer and [Withheld]. Also emphasised was Mr Cook’s good engagement with the psychologist and his continuing study. In oral submissions at the hearing Mr Rayner emphasised Mr Cook’s willingness to comply with any release conditions the Board thought appropriate and suggested that in addition to the residential condition suggested in the Parole Assessment Report could be added no association with active gang members, no alcohol or drugs, and not to work in the security industry.
8. Mr Cook himself assured the Board of his resolve not to reoffend. He emphasised the programmes he had completed and also his engagement in the rehabilitation programme for high risk offenders. He told the Board he is no longer interested in drugs and has severed all connections with the gang. [Withheld] and [Withheld] offered continuing support in the community.
9. The Board has given careful consideration to whether Mr Cook has reduced his risk to the point that the Board could consider it is not undue and could release him on parole. The Board’s concern is that the important changes Mr Cook has made through the programmes he has completed on sentence and the engagement with the psychologist have not been tested over time and circumstance. The Board would wish to see some reintegrative activity such as guided releases, or release to work. Since [Withheld] which is an excellent residential rehabilitation facility is not proposed, it is important that Mr Cook has the opportunity to engage in reintegration before he leaves the prison after a significant length of his sentence has been served.
10. The Board acknowledges the work Mr Cook has done and the support that is apparent. However he is a person who is at high risk of general and violent reoffending and without successful reintegrative progress must be seen as an undue risk to the safety of the community, and today parole is declined.
11. Mr Cook will be seen again by the end of February, in any event by 28 February 2018. The Board would support any appropriate reintegrative activity that Corrections can authorise.
Judge A Kiernan