A statement from Sir Ron Young, Chair – New Zealand Parole Board
3 February 2023
On Wednesday 1 February I released an independent report from Professor Devon Polaschek into the Parole Board’s decision in October 2021 to release Joseph Brider on parole.
In her review Professor Polaschek had concluded the Parole Board’s decision to release Mr Brider was reasonable based on the information available to it.
I had earlier spoken to Juliana Herrera’s sister in Colombia, to go through the report’s findings and answer any questions the family had.
Yesterday I spoke with Radio NZ’s Morning Report programme about the decision to release Mr Brider and the information the Parole Board was provided with by the Department of Corrections on which it based its release decision.
The Salisbury Street Foundation was the Board’s preferred release address and was discussed extensively at Mr Brider’s June 2021 parole hearing.
I told both Ms Herrera’s sister and Radio NZ the Parole Board was unable to release Mr Brider to the Salisbury Street Foundation. This was because according to the information provided by Corrections to the Parole Board’s October 2021 parole hearing, there was no room available for Mr Brider at the Salisbury Street Foundation.
This was also the information provided to Professor Polaschek to inform her independent review of the Parole Board’s decision.
I now believe the information provided to the Board by Corrections that there was no room available at the Salisbury Street Foundation for a release on parole was not correct.
It is my understanding that after the June 2021 parole hearing, where it was clearly intended that Mr Brider would be released to the Salisbury Street Foundation, Corrections contacted the Foundation and cancelled the referral. This occurred in August of 2021.
The Parole Board was not made aware of this significant change in the release plan by Corrections at any time before Mr Brider’s release on parole
The Salisbury Street Foundation have now told the Board that they had a bed available for Mr Brider if he had been released in June and would have still made a room available for him following the October parole hearing.
Given the Board’s clear commitment to releasing Mr Brider to the Salisbury Street Foundation, as shown in the Board’s hearing decision of June 2021, this was a very serious failure by Corrections to tell the Board of the cancellation.
It is the Parole Board and not Corrections that decides where an offender may be released to on parole. To do that effectively the Board relies on accurate information from Corrections.
Corrections had no authority from the Board to withdraw the application to the Salisbury Street Foundation when it was aware that was the Board’s preferred address and that a bed was available for Mr Brider.
It is clear to me that Corrections’ failure to provide this vital information compromised the Board’s decision-making.
The Board would most definitely have released Mr Brider to the Salisbury Street Foundation if it had known the correct facts.