Joyce Eileen CONWELL - 27/05/2019

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Joyce Eileen CONWELL

Hearing: 27 May 2019

at Rolleston Prison

Members of the Board:

  • Sir Ron Young - Chairperson
  • Mr N Trendle
  • Mr J Thomson
  • Assoc Prof. P Brinded


  • Ms V Walsh


  • [withheld]
  • [withheld]
  • [withheld]


  1. Joyce Eileen Conwell was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for murder. She is 72 years of age and has minimum security classification in prison.
  2. She was released on parole previously in 2012 but recalled to prison in 2017 after she committed further offending involving money laundering. The last Board saw her in December 2018. The proposal then was that she was to go to [withheld] with support from [withheld] after two to three months in a [withheld] home. The Board then suggested that plan needed significant tightening both as to the detail and her reintegration.
  3. We have now seen Ms Conwell today. It seems that plans have significantly changed.  Probably sensibly the [withheld] proposal has been abandoned. It is difficult to see that there would be social services available to support her in [withheld] and it was dependent upon her relatives visiting from [withheld].
  4. The proposal now is that Ms Conwell would live in [withheld]. This is a relatively recent proposal. It has some attractions but needs to be much further developed before we could support it.
  5. There are also proposals about residing either at [withheld] or a [withheld] residence for a short period.
  6. Today, Ms Conwell suggested that she could be released straight to [withheld] residence and that there would be sufficient family support in [withheld] to achieve that.
  7. There have been concerns with respect to Ms Conwell’s knowledge of her safety plan. At the hearing in December 2018, Ms Conwell was not able to identify anything of her safety plan and what it involved. She says in the meantime, she has spent considerable time reading and memorising the plan. The psychological report indicated that perhaps she had done a little more than have an academic understanding of the plan but that her heart really had not been in it.
  8. However, we do note the more recent report from [withheld], the case manager at Christchurch Women’s Prison which suggests that at a recent hui Ms Conwell was observed to have far better comprehension of the plan and could provide practical examples when she would need to alert her family members of difficulty.
  9. Overall, we still think that Ms Conwell poses an undue risk. As we have indicated we think her release plan needs to be further developed. We think the best way forward is as follows.
  10. First, there needs to be a whanau hui which involves [withheld]. In addition, it should involve her family and the Probation Service that will be supporting her outside in the community. A thorough discussion will need to take place about how Ms Conwell and [withheld] will manage living together, the time [withheld]’s house is available and ensure that [withheld] has a good knowledge of Ms Conwell’s safety plan.
  11. Secondly, we think further investigation is required of any other short term accommodation in [withheld] and an assessment made of whether or not this may be a better beginning for Ms Conwell out of prison before she resides with [withheld]. To do that we think will require several months and so we will see Ms Conwell again by the end of September 2019.

Sir Ron Young