James Andrew MILLS 11/5/2022

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

James Andrew MILLS

Hearing: 11 May 2022

at Whanganui Prison via MS Teams

Members of the Board: Sir Ron Young – Chairperson

Ms P Rose

Ms M Kleist

Prof Phil Brinded

Counsel:                                            Ms D Goodlet

In Attendance:                                  [withheld] - Case Manager

Support Persons: [withheld]




  1. Mr Mills, who is 42 years of age, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and possession of a firearm.  Prior to that, he had two pages of offending involving property offences and drug offending.  He was sentenced in 2010, the offending occurred in 2009.  It is significant that while he did have some convictions prior to 2009, from early 2009 the number of criminal convictions increased and indeed at the time of the murder he was on bail for other criminal offending involving burglaries and firearms.
  2. We last saw him on 18 November 2020.  He had an earlier poor record of misconducts in prison, but his conduct was significantly improving.  He was to do the Drug Treatment Programme and the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme before he came back to the Board.  Mr Mills was concerned that the Whanganui Drug Treatment Programme had a large element of tikanga Māori which he was not interested in doing, particularly the religious aspect.
  3. As to the current position, Mr Mills has been able to complete both the Drug Treatment Programme and Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme.  He transferred from Whanganui to Hawke's Bay to do the Drug Treatment Programme.  He has had very good reports from both the Dependency Treatment Programme and the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme and it is very positive to see the work that he has done on his rehabilitation.
  4. Mr Mills suffered a very serious motor vehicle accident many years ago, as a result of which he has had [withheld] and has some [withheld] and he has had to use [withheld] to [withheld].  Currently, he tells us it is under “reasonable” control.
  5. And so, he has now completed all of his rehabilitation treatment.  His plan is to be released to [withheld] in the [withheld] area.  He has done some work previously in engineering and has a qualification as a lab technician.
  6. Today, counsel sought parole.  She recognised that the vulnerability in Mr Mills’ plan was reintegration but she said the work he had done in prison and the very supportive family would be sufficient to overcome that deficit.
  7. We are satisfied he remains an undue risk.  We think he does need the reintegrative work that we will identify.
  8. Mr Mills has been in the [withheld].  The difficulty is he has had [withheld], which has prevented him from progressing further.  Although that is unfortunate, it does not, in our mind, affect the need to undertake reintegrative work to satisfy us about his risk.  And so, the way forward, we think, for him is for guided releases, outer Self-Care and release to work.  Doing well in all of those areas will illustrate that he can function well in society and that we can be confident that the rehabilitation programmes he has undertaken have made a significant difference to his conduct.
  9. We think the proposed release to [withheld] is appropriate, but it will be difficult for all of them initially.  And so, slow and steady is certainly the best way as far as we are concerned.  We think it may be better now for him to transfer to [withheld] Prison.  It is closer to his ultimate release address and in addition might provide broader opportunities for release to work.
  10. And so, we will see him again in nine months’ time, by the end of February 2023.

Sir Ron Young