Joanne Francis SMITH 10/7/2020

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Joanne Francis SMITH

Hearing: 10 July 2020

at Christchurch Women’s Prison

Members of the Board: Ms M Coleman (Panel Convenor), Mr J Thomson, Ms P Rose


  1. Joanne Francis Smith, who is 50, appeared before the Board today for further consideration of parole on a six-year three-month sentence for three counts of aggravated robbery.  Ms Smith's co-offender was her son.
  2. The Board discussed the offending with her today.  She said the idea for it arose in the context of a discussion at home.  She said it was her idea as she considered it an easy way to deal with current issues.
  3. Ms Smith’s statutory release date was 24 March 2024.
  4. Ms Smith has a limited criminal history.  She has one other conviction which was cannabis-related.  The penalty imposed was that she come up for sentence if called upon.  This was in 2002.
  5. When asked why the offending happened Ms Smith said that she had no boundaries and felt that no matter how hard she tried nothing would go right.  She also said that her son and co-offender was a high risk for her.  She said that he had issues in his life for which she felt responsible and was constantly trying to fix things for him.  For that reason, she said that she needs to make sure that she is well settled before there is any contact with him after she is released.  She said also that in the first instance it would need to be supervised as often happens with children.
  6. Ms Smith has completed all rehabilitation on her sentence plan.  This includes the Kowhiritanga, the Alcohol and Drug Intensive Programme and a Short Motivational Programme to support her engagement in the AOD programme.  From a custodial perspective the report is an excellent one, she is a good worker and is polite, positive and open with staff.  Opportunities for reintegration have been interrupted by Covid‑19 but she is in self-care and has recently had guided releases to (withheld) as it is to (withheld) accommodation she hopes to be released to.  Ms Smith said that her father is Ngati Whatua but that until she came to prison she had not really explored that side of her family and has started to do so since being imprisoned.
  7. She will have wider support through (withheld).  In return she understands that there will be rules and that she will be expected to contribute (withheld).  She has volunteered to work in the kitchen and is also looking forward to working in the greenhouses as she feels that food preparation and gardening are good activities for her.  She is also interested in a diploma in health science and is considering enrolling in that course in January.
  8. At first Ms Smith plans to just get used to being in the real world.  She acknowledges that it is an artificial environment in prison, albeit one in which she has found some safety and sanctuary.  Beyond (withheld), she would like to have her own place with a cat.
  9. At the end of the hearing Ms Smith said that jail was not the worst experience of her life and she has been able to get quite a lot of positives out of it.  It has made her accept things as they are and has learned about herself which has enabled her to move forward.
  10. That is how she came across to the Board today.  She has undertaken a lot of self‑reflection and now appears to have a clear view of what she needs to do to manage herself going forward.  She is open, sensible and practical about the challenges that she will face.  This includes in relation to her son.  She acknowledges that re-establishing a different basis for her relationship with him is something that she needs to undertake.
  11. With the insight that Ms Smith has about what led to this offending and the work that she has done in prison along with her release plan which the Board considers appropriate, the Board has decided to release Ms Smith on parole.
  12. She will be released on 27 July 2020.  She will be subject to standard and special conditions for two years following that release.  The exception to this is the curfew which will remain in place for three months only.
  13. One of the conditions is that she is not to possess or consume alcohol or drugs.  Her compliance with that condition can be monitored once she is in the community and she is aware of this fact.
  14. Another condition included is for general counselling to be  available.  Specifically we envisage that this could extend to family counselling so that the re‑establishment of contact with her son and co-offender can be managed in a positive way.
  15. The special conditions are as follows:

(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 tenancy agreement or rules issued by the provider of your approved accommodation.

(3) For 3 months from release to be at your approved address between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am daily unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(4) To attend an assessment for a departmental programme/maintenance group, and attend, participate in and adhere to the rules of the programme/maintenance group as directed by a Probation Officer.

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

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

(7) Not to enter any premises licensed under the Gambling Act 2003, other than supermarkets or dairies, or other place approved in writing by a Probation Officer.

(8) To attend, participate in and complete any other programme, treatment or counselling, including family counselling, as directed by a probation officer.

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

(10) Not to communicate or associate with your co-offender Joshua Smith directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written approval of a 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 Coleman

Panel Convenor