Alex Oliver BERGEN - 19/06/2020

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Conditions hearing

Under section 18(2) (SRD) of the Parole Act 2002

Alex Oliver BERGEN

Hearing: 19 June 2020

at Christchurch Prison via AVL to Richmond Community Corrections

Members of the Board:

  • Sir Ron Young (Chairperson)
  • Mr P Elenio
  • Mr J Thomson

Counsel:     Ms L Heah


  1. Mr Bergen who is 44 years of age was sentenced to two years and three months’ imprisonment for managing a company while prohibited and making a false statement.  He has a final release date of 11 October 2020, a RoC*RoI of 0.688 and a low security classification. He has 12 pages of previous convictions involving a broad range of dishonesty and breaches of Court orders, together with some sexual offending in his past.
  2. When we saw him last in August 2019 there was a suggestion that there might not be treatment available for Mr Bergen before release.  That was a surprising proposition given his high RoC*RoI and his long history of offending.  In any event, the Board strongly urged the Department to provide some appropriate treatment for Mr Bergen addressed at his risk given his history of dishonesty.
  3. As far as the position now is concerned, the PAR report writer notes that Mr Bergen’s cooperation with the report writer was poor and he was abusive and demanding within the prison.  However, another report, read by Mr Bergen today, by a PCO which said that Mr Bergen’s behaviour had been appropriate within the prison.  In any event, the Case Manager who completed the PAR report noted there was some lack of cooperation with the interviewer and a number of illustrations were given within the report itself.
  4. We consider Mr Bergen remains a high risk of reoffending
  5. Mr Bergen’s counsel sought release today on the basis he would go to [withheld] and that was a better option than him continuing in prison.
  6. Our assessment of course has to be based on risk and currently Mr Bergen is an untreated offender with a very long history of dishonesty.  He has no safety plan. We mention for the sake of completeness that Mr Bergen did file a document that he called his safety plan back in 12 August 2019.  The plan does not have any of the elements in fact of safety plan. When challenged about this, Mr Bergen said that he had not been told he needed a safety plan. That assertion appeared to be in conflict with the fact that he had provided what claimed to be such a plan. He then said that no one had helped him in the prison to prepare such a plan.  Whatever the reasons or causes for his failure to have a safety plan, the fact is he does not have a useful safety plan. That absence is highly relevant to his risk.
  7. And so, in summary Mr Bergen is an offender with a high RoC*RoI, with a long history of offending who has had no risk treatment within the prison and does not have a safety plan. We are therefore satisfied taking account of the release proposals that he is an undue risk and cannot now be released on parole.
  8. We express the strong hope that Corrections will arrange for assistance to Mr Bergen to prepare an appropriate safety plan before his release, and if at all possible, some one‑on‑one counselling with the psychologist.
  9. In the circumstances described therefore, we think the appropriate course are for us to set release conditions for him for October.  The release conditions will apply for a period of six months beyond his final release date.  We do not know whether or not the [withheld] will still keep the accommodation open for Mr Bergen in October. We certainly hope they will. It will now be a matter for the Probation Officer decide on suitable accommodation. The release conditions are:

(1) To reside at an address approved in writing by a Probation Officer, and not move from that address unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(2) Not to possess, use, or consume alcohol, controlled drugs or psychoactive substances except controlled drugs prescribed for you by a health professional.

(3) To obtain the written approval of a Probation Officer before starting or changing your position and/or place of employment (including voluntary and unpaid work). To notify a Probation Officer if you leave your position of employment.

(4) To attend a psychological assessment and attend, participate in and complete any recommended treatment as directed by a Probation Officer.

(5) Not to be involved in the handling of money, provision of advice or management of the financial accounts or transactions, of any person or entity, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(6) Upon request, to make available to a Probation Officer or his or her agent, any electronic device capable of accessing the internet that is used by you, or is in your possession or control, for the purpose of monitoring your use of the device.

(7) To comply with any tenancy agreement or rules issued by the provider of your approved accommodation.

(8) Not to operate a credit card or apply for or accept any loan from any person or entity unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(9) To attend an alcohol and drug assessment, and attend, participate in and complete any treatment or counselling directed by a Probation Officer

(10) To disclose to a probation officer, at the earliest opportunity, details of any intimate relationship which commences, resumes, or terminates.

Sir Ron Young