Michael John CARROLL 19/8/2020
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Michael John CARROLL
Hearing: 19 August 2020
at Hawkes Bay Regional Prison via AVL to NZPB Offices
Members of the Board: Mr N Trendle (Panel Convenor), Associate Professor P Brinded, Mr B McMurray, Mr C King
Counsel: Mr M Bott
Support Persons: (Withheld)
In Attendance: (withheld)
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Michael John Carroll was sentenced to preventive detention on 19 March 1988 following his conviction on three charges of rape. He is recorded as being sentenced later that month to a concurrent term of eight years’ imprisonment for abduction. He was released on parole on 11 February 2003, but was the subject of a final recall order on 4 September 2003 following the disintegration of his release plan after six months in the community. His recourse to alcohol contributed to the situation.
- Since his return to prison Mr Carroll has completed the Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme, the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme and the Drug Treatment Programme. Progress was initially slow. Fifteen months ago, however, when he last appeared before the Board for parole to be considered a significant change over the preceding period was remarked on. Mr Carroll put that down to his participation in the Maori Focus Unit. The Board supported his progression on reintegration activities.
- Since then Mr Carroll has been residing in Te Whare Oranga Ake. We are told that he has been fully participating in the activities of the Whare. He engaged in release to work which was terminated only by the restrictions imposed following the COVID‑19 pandemic. He has developed a significant support structure consisting mainly of well‑established support organisations.
- Mr Carroll was represented by his counsel, Mr Bott, who made submissions in support of his release on parole. He submitted that Mr Carroll had turned a corner prior to his last appearance before the Board and come a long way since then. His next challenge was to transfer the structure that he is had established into positive support in the community. In particular, his engagement with the psychologist had led him to better manage his emotions and to develop his insight into why he offended. Mr Bott submitted he had demonstrated the ability to apply the skills he had acquired over a range of activities in the last period. He was now ready to return to the community.
- For his part, Mr Carroll conceded that previously he had been resistant to engaging with psychologists owing to historic experiences. He had come to the realisation however that it was he who had to change. His exposure to Tikanga Maori in the Maori Focus Unit had two important implications: First, he quickly learned that he had to become tika and pono. Secondly, he felt that he was valued and worthwhile. He grew in confidence in himself and was able to accept the challenges that were before him. He said that he felt as if he belonged.
- The Board noted what it described as a striking change in Mr Carroll's presentation at the last hearing in May 2019. Progress has continued. He has completed 59 treatment sessions with the psychologist between July 2018 and April of this year. He spoke positively of that engagement and what it has meant to him to change his perspective on his place in the community.
- The Board is of the view that the change remarked on at his last hearing is now well established. We put that down to the combination of his experience in the Maori Focus Unit and subsequently in Te Whare Oranga Ake and the lengthy engagement he had with a psychologist with whom he has developed trust and confidence.
- We are satisfied that there is ample evidence before us of that change and also that Mr Carroll has been diligent in assembling support that will facilitate his safe return to the community. In reaching that conclusion we have not overlooked the seriousness of his offending. He has an extensive offending history of serious sexual offending. We are also satisfied that the position he finds himself in today is far different from that which accompanied his last release from prison in 2003. We note he has developed a relationship with Community Corrections and will have the ongoing support of the facilitators at Te Whare Oranga Ake. He will have supported accommodation and other support from organisations in the community.
- We have reached the view that any residual risk can be managed in the community on parole conditions. Accordingly, we direct his release on parole on 28 September 2020 when supported accommodation becomes available to him. Thereafter, he will be subject to standard conditions and the special conditions set out below. Standard conditions will remain in force for life and special conditions for a period of five years.
- We have included a condition that Mr Carroll is to appear before the Board five months after his release, in February 2021, for a monitoring hearing. For that hearing we request a report from his probation officer as to his compliance with release conditions and his progress on parole. We impose that condition having regard to the previous unsuccessful release and to ensure that Mr Carroll is utilising the support that is now in place.
- He will also be subject to a condition that he is not use possess or consume alcohol, controlled drugs, or psychoactive substances. He will accordingly be subject to the statutory drug and alcohol testing regime and may be required by a probation officer or a police officer to submit to drug and alcohol testing or monitoring.
- Finally, we have imposed electronic monitoring in the form of partial residential restrictions and also the monitoring of his whereabouts. Those conditions may be subject to further consideration at the monitoring hearing.
- Upon release his special conditions are as follows:
(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) To submit to electronic monitoring as directed by a Probation Officer in order to monitor your compliance with any conditions relating to your whereabouts.
(3) Not to enter the (withheld) regions as defined by a Probation Officer in writing unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(4) 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 8:00 pm and 6:00 am daily, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer, or as permitted by section 33(4) of the Parole Act 2002.
(5) To attend, participate in and complete psychological counselling as directed by a Probation Officer.
(6) To attend an alcohol and drug assessment, and attend, participate in and complete any treatment or counselling directed by a Probation Officer.
(7) 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.
(8) To disclose to a Probation Officer, at the earliest opportunity, details of any intimate relationship which commences, resumes, or terminates.
(9) Not to possess, use, or consume alcohol, controlled drugs or psychoactive substances except controlled drugs prescribed for you by a health professional.
(10) To obtain the written approval of a Probation Officer before starting or changing your position or place of employment (including voluntary and unpaid work). To notify a Probation Officer if you leave your position of employment.
(11) To attend a reintegration meeting as directed by a Probation Officer.
(12) To comply with any direction made under section 29B(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002 to attend a hearing at a time and place to be notified to you.
Mr N Trendle