James Joseph KAPA - 16/10/2017
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
James Joseph KAPA
Hearing: 16 October 2017
at [withheld] by AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington
Members of the Board:
- Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor
- Ms P Rose
- Mr L Tawera
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- James Joseph Kapa is making a further appearance before the Board on an effective sentence of 13 years three months’ imprisonment for burglary, dishonestly accessing a computer and other offending. He has four years 10 months remaining on that sentence with a statutory release date of 8 January 2022.
- Mr Kapa’s offending history extends back to 1984. Over a 23-year period he accumulated more than 200 convictions. This is his fourth term of imprisonment and by far the longest. He has successfully completed rehabilitation activities and is now in the reintegration phase of his sentence. He is in the self-care units at [withheld] and working inside the wire at the [withheld] workshop.
- Mr Kapa was represented today by [withheld] who made detailed submissions to the Board with particular reference to Mr Kapa’s progress on his reintegration activities. The Board in its last decision referred to the importance of that phase of Mr Kapa’s sentence and, in particular, the availability of release to work. So far as that is concerned Mr Kapa’s application was declined in February of this year. Counsel referred to the combination of the prison’s policy; the Department of Corrections’ policy; Mr Kapa’s public profile; and police opposition, as obstacles that seem in Mr Kapa’s case to be insurmountable.
- As noted, he has been working for [withheld] and [withheld] drew attention to the monthly internal reports as to his progress. Without exception they were positive, though somewhat brief. That picture is in sharp contrast to the comment made in the Parole Assessment Report where, we were advised, the Probation Officer phoned the employer and the statement was made that reports on Mr Kapa’s ability and work had not been favourable. The Production Manager was unsure as to whether he was able to offer employment for Mr Kapa upon release.
- [withheld] told the Board that this statement dumbfounded Mr Kapa in view of the monthly prison file notes. He had attempted to resolve the conflicting advice with the employer but had been unable to do so. Counsel referred to the limitations on Mr Kapa’s ability to progress matters. Previously, he had expressed an interest in the law and he also had significant experience with computers. Both of those options seemed unavailable to Mr Kapa in view of his offending and his record. He was at a loss, firstly with respect to the comments before the Board and, secondly, with the options available to him to satisfy the Board that he was ready for release on parole.
- Mr Kapa was supported at the hearing by his [withheld] and two supportive friends. It seems to the Board that his proposed release address is satisfactory and he has committed support. We are clear, however, that the conflicting information before us with respect to Mr Kapa’s performance in the workplace and the likelihood of employment on release needs to be resolved.
- The Board requests that the Prison investigates the position and that a decision is made whether Mr Kapa’s present employment arrangements should continue in light of the information reported to have been given to Community Corrections. It will also be helpful to receive advice from the Prison as to whether, upon release, Mr Kapa is likely to receive an opportunity for an interview or a job offer from his employer. Further, having regard to the importance of employment upon his release, if he is proposing to work for his current employer, Mr Kapa will need to satisfy the Board of the longer-term viability of that proposal, particularly with respect to travel arrangements from his proposed release address.
- We have drawn Mr Kapa’s attention to the recommendation made in the psychologist’s report of September 2015 with respect to his developing alternative strategies to the excitement and intellectual challenge of offending and evading detection. It seems to us that his release proposal would be strengthened by the broadening of his interests. To date he does not appear to have taken the psychologist’s suggestion further.
- Parole today is declined. Having regard to sections 7 and 28 of the Parole Act, to his history of offending and the length of time remaining on his sentence, the Board cannot be satisfied on the information before us that his release would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community. Despite the apparent obstacles referred to by Counsel, we remain of the view that Mr Kapa’s reintegration pathway should include a period of release to work. In addition to the information referred to above, we request advice from the Prison as to the potential timeframe for such an activity in Mr Kapa’s case.
- To ensure these various matters can be resolved or progressed, Mr Kapa will be scheduled to return to the Board in six months, by 30 April 2018.
Mr N Trendle