Jordan NELSON 18/11/2020
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 18 November 2020
At Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison
Members of the Board: Ms M More (Panel Convenor)
Associate Professor Dr P Brinded
Dr G Coyle
Major C Roberts
Counsel: Mr G MacDonald
In Attendance: Withheld (Case Manager)
Support Persons: Withheld
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Jordan Nelson is 21. He makes his third appearance before the Board on a sentence of 18 years for murder with a firearm. When Mr Nelson was 13, he was living with his de facto grandfather and his partner. He considered that the partner was responsible for the cessation of contact between Mr Nelson and his natural mother. He had a disagreement with the victim, he took a gun and shot her.
- At sentencing, the Judge noted that the psychiatric reports said that he did not have the ability to evaluate risk, consider outcomes or make informed choices. Mr Nelson had an early exposure to domestic violence, and the Judge said it would be manifestly unjust to sentence him to life imprisonment. He said there would be no hope of release and a disincentive for him to undertake programmes.
- Mr Nelson has a RoC*RoI of .23583, his statutory release date is 15 April 2030, he has nine years and five months remaining on his sentence.
- Mr Nelson was represented by counsel, Mr MacDonald. On his behalf, Mr MacDonald submitted the Board could release him on parole. Mr MacDonald referred to the work he has done in prison, the support network he has and that he is intelligent and has achieved qualifications.
- Mr Nelson was last before the Board on 11 March 2020. There had been some issues, including some improper conduct, and there were questions about his release plan. That was to go to his (withheld) address, he was also in a relationship with a woman who he said was his partner. That woman is considerably older than Mr Nelson and has children. The Board said he should concentrate on release to work, learn to cope in a variety of circumstances and consider supported accommodation.
- Today Mr Nelson comes to us with a robust release proposal that includes accommodation with (withheld) accommodation in (withheld) as part of (withheld).
- Mr Nelson has been undertaking release to work since February 2020, with a break for COVID-19. He has saved (withheld) and bought himself a car, he has privileges to drive himself to work in the orchards.
- At the start of the hearing we discussed the victim’s submissions with Mr Nelson. Mr Nelson told us that he has remorse, he said he would like to write apology letters and he has asked for restorative justice, but the Victim Notification Registrar has advised him that he needs to wait to hear from the victims. Mr Nelson said he imagines the victims are raw and numb, and still suffering and he accepts what they have to say. He said that he can do the best that he can get himself on his feet, and when the time comes he would like the opportunity to apologise to the victims. He said it would not be easy, but he would be prepared to meet with them face-to-face if they wished.
- The Board has a psychological assessment dated 13 October 2020, the psychologist said that he has increased in maturity over the last couple of months, he is more open with staff and engaging with reintegration planning. He has ended the relationship but he has requested approval for the telephone number of another adult female. Mr Nelson told the number is of a friend of a friend, it is not a relationship but he is open to that. However later he said he is not looking for a relationship at the moment.
- Since the last Board Mr Nelson has had 26 sessions of individual treatment with the psychologist. He has arranged the supported accommodation the Board requested, and he has permanent employment with (withheld). There is a letter of support from his manager at (withheld). He has also obtained his forklift licence and driver's licence.
- Mr Nelson has put forward a comprehensive risk management plan and Mr McDonald submitted, on his behalf, that it was to his credit that he bounced back from the disappointment of the last Board where he was declined parole. Mr MacDonald submitted he has addressed the issues identified.
- Mr Nelson spoke to the Board about what he has learnt with the psychologist, about how his personality has changed and how he looks at things differently. He said his biggest challenges have been emotions, and understanding how he feels, and recognising his behaviour. He was able to give examples of times when his behaviour has been below par and how he has managed it.
- Taking into account the work Mr Nelson has done, the rehabilitation and reintegration that is underway and his release proposal; the Board considers that any undue risk he continues to pose can be met by way of special conditions, as such his risk is not undue and he will be released on parole.
- Mr Nelson will be released on 9 December. We have discussed the proposed special conditions with him, we are going to see him again in six months’ time. He has the opportunity at the monitoring hearing to discuss the electronic monitoring and residential restrictions if he wishes.
- The Board is imposing standard conditions until 15 April 2030, being Mr Nelson’s sentence end date. The special conditions are imposed for five years from the date of release. 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) Upon release from prison, to travel directly to (withheld) and await the arrival of a Probation Officer and a representative from the monitoring company.
(3) To submit to electronic monitoring as directed by a Probation Officer in order to monitor your compliance with any conditions relating to your whereabouts.
(4) Not to enter the Taranaki Region as defined by a Probation Officer in writing unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(5) Not to enter the Northland Region as defined by a Probation Officer in writing unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(6) To submit to electronic monitoring as directed by a Probation Officer and comply with the requirements of partial residential restrictions. To remain at your approved address between the hours of 9pm and 6am daily, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer, or as permitted by section 33(4) of the Parole Act 2002.
(7) To comply with the requirements of electronic monitoring and provide unimpeded access to your approved residence by a Probation Officer and/or representatives of the monitoring company for the purpose of maintaining the electronic monitoring equipment as directed by a Probation Officer.
(8) To attend a psychological assessment and attend, participate in and complete any recommended treatment as directed by a Probation Officer.
(9) To disclose to a Probation Officer, at the earliest opportunity, details of any intimate relationship which commences, resumes, or terminates.
(10) To attend a reintegration meeting as directed by a Probation Officer.
(11) To comply with any direction made under section 298(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002 to attend a hearing at a time and place to be notified to you.
(12) Not to possess, use, or consume alcohol, controlled drugs or psychoactive substances except controlled drugs prescribed for you by a health professional.
(13) Not to own or possess any firearm/restricted weapon/air or gas-powered weapon/imitation firearm/explosives or ammunition.
(14) 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.
“Please note: you may be required to undergo a drug or alcohol test and or submit to drug or alcohol monitoring.”
Ms M More