Travis BURNS 5/8/2020
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 5 August 2020
at Auckland South Corrections Facility
Members of the Board: Judge C Blackie (Panel Convenor), Dr Jeremy Skipworth, Dr Greg Coyle, Major C Roberts
Counsel: Mr D Allan
In Attendance: Ms Y Struyf (Case Manager)
Support People: (withheld)
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Travis Burns appeared again before the Parole Board on 5 August 2020.
- Mr Burns is serving a life sentence for murder, his sentence commencement date being 15 August 2000. In effect, when previous offending is included he has spent 33 out of the last 36 years in prison.
- When last seen by the Parole Board in February 2019 it was noted that despite no further rehabilitation programmes being required he nevertheless continued to minimise a number of significant issues relating to his offending. The Board also noted that from the point of view of reintegration he needed to proceed with Release to Work, to secure accommodation and some form of permanent employment. Considerable care would be needed in managing the reintegration process.
- The latest Parole Assessment Report refers to Mr Burns’ poor response to parole in the past (he was twice recalled), his high RoC*RoI and continuing high risk. Similar comments were contained in the Psychological Report dated 7 July 2020. The psychologist’s recommendation was that he continue his reintegration pathway, maintain his support network and seek employment.
- Mr Allan, counsel for Mr Burns, sought immediate release. Accommodation has now been secured care of the (withheld) which would provide Mr Burns with sufficient wrap around support. Further, since November 2019 he had secured employment via work to release with a local trailer manufacturer.
- Within the prison there were no issues regarding behaviour.
- Mr Burns was questioned closely by the Board in relation to the same concerns that arose before the previous Board regarding acceptance of the factual findings recorded by the sentencing Judge. Even now he endeavoured to minimise what was found by the Court to have occurred.
- Mr Burns was also questioned by the Board as to how he would deal with stressful situations within the community bearing in mind that he had spent such a significant period in custody without any real exposure to the outside world. He gave one or two examples which demonstrated that in fact had some insight.
- This Board endorses the view expressed by the previous Board that an extended period of testing was necessary within the community before Mr Burns could be considered for release. With this in mind he should consolidate his position by continuing along his current rehabilitation pathway through Self Care within the prison, the work to release programme on the outside.
- He will be seen again in nine months’ time for his overall position to be reviewed. Meanwhile, the Board is of the view that his release plan and reintegration is firmly consolidated, he remains undue risk to the community and therefore parole for today.
Judge C Blackie