Jamiee Marie COONEY 6/11/2020

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Jamiee Marie COONEY

Hearing: 6 November 2020 at Arohata Prison Upper Jail via AVL to Arohata Prison

Members of the Board: Ms M More (Panel Convenor), Ms M Dodd, Ms M Kleist

Counsel: Ms M Radich

Support Persons: (withheld)

(withheld)

In attendance: (withheld) – Case Manager

(withheld) – Principal Case Manager

DECISION OF THE BOARD

  1. Jamiee Marie Cooney is 38, she makes her second appearance before the Parole Board on a sentence of two years six months for seven charges of sexual connection with a young person aged 12 to 16 and two charges of exposing a young person to indecent material.  The victims of Ms Cooney’s offending were students at the school where she taught.  Ms Cooney has no offending history.
  2. Ms Cooney has a RoC*RoI of .17958, her statutory release date is 16 June 2022, she has one year and seven months remaining on her sentence.
  3. Ms Cooney’s security classification is low, the parole assessment report tells us that there have been no incidents and she has worked hard to be compliant and responsible.  The PCO at the Board confirmed that there are no issues with her.
  4. Ms Cooney was represented by counsel, Ms Radich, who submitted that her client was seeking parole.  Ms Radich referred to the previous board on 7 October 2020 where Ms Cooney had sought parole but was perhaps somewhat unrealistic.  Ms Radich confirmed that the previous board did not have enough evidence of the environment into which Ms Cooney sought to be released, and the support and insights she needed for release.
  5. The Board has the assistance of a psychological assessment dated 19 October 2020.  The psychologist canvassed Ms Cooney’s psychological and (withheld) and concluded that the psychological mechanisms which led to Ms Cooney’s offending would have pre-existed.  The psychologist said that the offending occurred in the context of (withheld).
  6. The psychologist assessed Ms Cooney’s risk of re-offending as overall being low, while noting that there are no risk assessment tools for female sex offenders.  The psychologist said that the risk factors relating to any potential victim, including (withheld), were a threat of abandonment, access to teenagers with secondary sex characteristics and a significant deterioration in mood or increase in anxiety.  The psychologist said all three factors would be needed.
  7. The psychologist noted that Ms Cooney was engaging in offence-paralleling behaviour in prison, she was inappropriately seeking validation and support from other staff despite engaging with a psychologist in the assessment process.  The psychologist also noted that Ms Cooney had had professional support in the community but had continued to behave in an inappropriate manner.
  8. Ms Radich referred to the psychological assessment and submitted that the issues raised could be addressed with community-based rehabilitation and support and pointed out that although the psychologist recommended one-on-one work, it was not likely to be able to take place in the prison environment.
  9. The psychologist did recommend that if the Board declined parole, Ms Cooney should engage in individual intervention with a Departmental psychologist.
  10. The case manager at the Board, (withheld), confirmed that the resources with psychological services did mean that Ms Cooney was a low priority and she could not confirm that she would get rehabilitation in prison.  (withheld) said that there was more opportunity for Ms Cooney to get treatment in the community, and that she was to be referred to the (withheld) programme.
  11. Ms Cooney spoke well to the Board.  She talked about the stresses that she was suffering at the time, (withheld), and the poor decisions she made.
  12. Ms Cooney told us that she has taken on board what the psychologist said, and she accepts that she needs helps.  She said that she has learned she cannot rely upon people other than the professionals, that when she worked with a (withheld) in Blenheim she was not honest.  She said that she presented with (withheld) but she did not fully disclose the extent of (withheld).
  13. Ms Cooney told the Board that she did not think she could survive on her own, she was vulnerable, and she sought support from the victims.
  14. Ms Cooney told us that recently she has changed her behaviour, that she is not seeking support and validation inappropriately in the unit, and her PCO confirmed this.
  15. Ms Cooney was supported by (withheld) and (withheld) at the Board, they told us that they were unaware of the extent of her stress and (withheld).  (withheld) said that he continues to fully support (withheld), and that they have (withheld)living nearby in the form of her (withheld).  (withheld) said that (withheld) can ensure that somebody is with Ms Cooney all the time, given that he is (withheld) and does (withheld).
  16. (withheld) said he has been at Ms Cooney's side the whole time, he wants to work with her.  (withheld) said that he was angry and he has sought professional help, but he continues to support Ms Cooney.
  17. (withheld), Ms Cooney's (withheld), said that the (withheld)were unaware of the extent of her (withheld), but they are now aware of the fact that she needs help and support and he confirms that is available.
  18. Ms Cooney told the Board that she wholeheartedly accepts what she did, she said she is going to go home, keep her head down, get well and love her children and husband.
  19. The Board is conscious that Ms Cooney is, on the face of it, an untreated sex offender.  She acknowledges that she needs help, and she has yet to undertake any rehabilitation.  However, we are also conscious that it is unlikely she will get any rehabilitation in the prison environment and Ms Cooney and those who support her have prepared a release proposal to address that.
  20. The Board considers that any undue risk Mr Cooney proposes can be met by way of release conditions, as such she will be released on parole.
  21. The Board has discussed the proposed special conditions with Ms Cooney, we have confirmed them all with some adjusting, and we have added some conditions.
  22. Ms Cooney is not to have contact to associate with a person under the age of 16, we note 18 was proposed but we consider access to young adults occurred within the context of her teaching at Marlborough College and that situation is not likely to arise again.  We are conscious that Ms Cooney has children and other (withheld) members living nearby.  She may be allowed contact with her own children, and she may have contact with any other younger family members identified to probation and approved by them.
  23. Within one month of release Ms Cooney is to have a reintegration hui, we anticipate she will present her safety plan to support people and probation officer.
  24. For three months from release Ms Cooney is to be subject to a curfew, she is to be at home between 10.00 pm and 6.00 am.
  25. (withheld) advised the Board that he has needed to have an au pair while Ms Cooney has been incarcerated to assist with childcare.  We cannot make it a condition, but he did advise the Board that he would do all he could to make sure that Ms Cooney was not left alone, we support that.
  26. Given Ms Cooney's unique offending, and the fact that she has not undertaken any rehabilitation to date, the Board considers there are special circumstances to justify asking her to appear before the Board again.  Ms Cooney is to appear for a post-progress hearing in March 2021.  We hope that by then she will have evidence of rehabilitation undertaken and be able to tell the Board how she is managing her parole.
  27. Mr Cooney will be released on 23 November 2020, with the exception of the curfew which is for three months only, the standard and special conditions imposed will continue until six months after her sentence end date.  The special conditions are:

(1) To reside at (withheld), or any other 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) To comply with any direction made under section 29B(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002 to attend a hearing in March 2021 at a time and place to be notified to you.

(3) For three months from your release to be at your approved address between the hours of 10:00pm and 06:00am daily unless you have the prior written approval of a probation officer.

(4) Within one month from your release to attend a reintegration meeting as directed by a probation officer.

(5) Not to have contact or otherwise associate, with a person under the age of 16 years of age, (apart from your own children or any other family members identified to and approved by Probation), directly or indirectly unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer, or unless you are under the supervision and in the presence of an adult approved in writing by a Probation Officer.

(6) Not to have contact or otherwise associate, with any victim of your offending, [including previous offending] directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(7) Not to enter or loiter near any school, early childhood education centre, park, library, swimming pool, other recreational facility, church, or other area specified in writing by a Probation Officer, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer, or unless an adult approved by a Probation Officer in writing, is present.

(8) 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.

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

(10) To attend an assessment for the (withheld) programme as directed by a Probation Officer.

(11) To attend and complete any counselling, treatment or programme as recommended by that assessment to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer.

“Please note: you may be required to undergo a drug or alcohol test and or submit to drug or alcohol monitoring.”

Ms M More

Panel Convenor