Shelley WILLIAMS - 31/03/2020

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Shelley Lee WILLIAMS

Hearing: Tuesday 31 March 2020

By teleconference to Christchurch Women’s Prison

Members of the Board:

  • Ms K Snook (Panel Convenor)
  • Ms F Pimm


  • Ms E Aickin


  1. This decision has been issued following consideration of parole in accordance with the provisions of an epidemic management notice issued by the Government on 30 March 2020 and in accordance with section 13A of the Parole Act 2002.  There has been a hearing conducted by a Panel Convenor and a Board member.  All of the usual material has been considered and there has been a telephone discussion involving the Board, the offender, her counsel and the principal corrections officer.
  2. Shelley Lee Williams, 43, appeared for the further consideration of parole on a sentence of five years’ imprisonment for aggravated robbery and other offending.
  3. Ms Williams has a RoC*RoI of 0.43475, she is on a high prison security classification, and has a statutory release date of 29 June 2022.
  4. Ms Williams was released on parole on 5 August 2019.  A final recall order was made on 11 November 2019.  The circumstances of that recall are set out in the decision of the recalling Board.
  5. Ms Williams has recently been sentenced to an additional one-year term of imprisonment which is concurrent on her other charges.  The recent convictions included convictions for driving with excess breath alcohol, shoplifting, wilful damage, aggravated assault, and assaulting the police as well as breach of her special conditions.  She is now not eligible for parole until 11 April 2020.
  6. Ms Aickin appeared for Ms Williams. The bed that had previously been available to Ms Williams at [withheld] on 29 April 2020 is now not available due to the COVID-19 situation.  Ms Aickin asked the Board to see Ms Williams again just before the previous bed availability date of late April 2020 to see whether a further bed date could be made available to Ms Williams at [withheld].
  7. We talked in some detail with Ms Williams today about the circumstances of the recall and her behaviour in prison.  We have a psychological report which was requested by the recalling Board.  It is dated 10 February 2020.  We noted in particular paragraph 8 of that psychological assessment.  Ms Williams said today that she accepts that she can be entitled and demanding.  She did not think that she is abusive or manipulative.  She thought it was harsh to be described as she was in the psychological assessment.  We did say to her that it was the view of more than one staff member and that is something that Ms Williams will need to reflect on.
  8. Ms Williams accepted that there have been three misconducts since she returned to prison.  The latest of those was on 8 February 2020.  She has been involved in passing unauthorised items.
  9. The psychological assessment now assesses Ms Williams as being a high risk of general and violent reoffending.  She is said to have a high reintegrative need.  This risk assessment is higher than that in the earlier psychological assessment dated 28 May 2019.  At that time Ms Williams was assessed as posing a low - moderate risk of general reoffending and a moderate risk of violent reoffending.
  10. The recommendations of the psychologist refer to further treatment.  While that is said to be possible in the community it is our view that Ms Williams requires further treatment in prison before we could be satisfied that she no longer poses an undue risk to the safety of the community for the period remaining on her sentence.
  11. We accept what Ms Aickin said that the opportunity at [withheld] is a good one for her.  We do not consider however that it is an appropriate programme for Ms Williams at this time.  We also acknowledge what Ms Aickin said about Ms Williams’ complex needs and that is another reason why we think further treatment is required for her in prison.  Those needs are clear from the psychological assessment.  It is very good that she has begun addressing those needs via [withheld] but that counselling is not directed specifically at her offending.
  12. Given Ms Williams assessed risk of reoffending, the fact that she only lasted eight weeks on parole, reoffended in a significant way while on parole,  and still has a reasonably lengthy period of time remaining on her sentence, parole is declined.  Risk is undue until such time as Ms Williams has completed, at a bare minimum, a programme in relation to her issues with alcohol abuse.
  13. Although at this time Ms Williams has not yet been able to participate in the [withheld] programme for the reasons she indicated to the Board, the principal corrections officer said today that in fact the programme can be made available to her on high security. Alternatively she should work hard on her behaviour so that her security classification is reduced and she can then complete the programme on a lower prison security classification.
  14. Given the situation with Covid-19, and the fact that no programmes are currently being run in the prison, we will schedule Ms Williams to be seen again by a Board in October 2020 and no later than the end of that month.  We hope that she has been able to complete the [withheld] by that time.  We also support Ms Williams being offered one-to-one treatment with the psychologist along the lines referred to in the psychological assessment if at all possible before she returns to the Board.  She should also continue with her [withheld] counselling.
  15. For the next Board we ask for a psychological addendum update for the next Board which identifies the treatment that Ms Williams has completed, advises on treatment gains, and assesses her release proposal.

Ms K Snook
Panel Convenor