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BREACH OF PAROLE INFORMATION

BREACH OF PAROLE INFORMATION

Published on 27.08.2015 by Peter Russo

BREACH OF PAROLE INFORMATION

This information has been prepared to assist persons who have been currently granted parole.  All information is of a general nature only and is no substitute for specific legal advice related to your situation.

If you are currently on parole, you will have a range of conditions imposed via your ‘Parole Order’.

If you breach any of these conditions, there are three (3) ways the Parole Order may be affected by any such breach.  A Parole Order may be:

In order to take a test bring with you:-

  • Amended or suspended by your Parole Officer (maximum of 28 days)
  • Amended, suspended or cancelled by a Parole Board; or
  • Cancelled automatically

PAROLE OFFICER

The Chief of Queensland Corrective Officer (or their delegate) has the power to amend to suspend a Parole Order for up to 28 days.  In practice, this action is usually taken by a Parole Officer.

DECISION TO AMEND SUSPEND CANCEL

AMEND

Your Parole Officer may amend your Parole Order if you have not complied with the order or are considered to pose a risk of harm to others or yourself.  Amending a Parole Order is done by adding, removing or changing parole conditions.

SUSPEND

Your Parole Officer may suspend your Parole Order and return you to prison (for up to 28 days) if it is reasonably believed you:

  • Have not complied with a condition of the order;
  • Pose a risk of harm to yourself or another person;
  • Pose an unacceptable risk of committing a further offence/s; and/or
  • are preparing to leave Queensland.

In considering whether to suspend a Parole Order, your Parole Officer must consider the safety of the community and some of the matters that may be taken into consideration include:

  • Whether you have a “reasonable excuse” for any non-compliance with parole conditions;
  • Your original offence;
  • Any identified risk factors (e.g. regarding illicit drug use, whether there is a link between the use of a particular drug and offending behaviour);
  • Your response to community supervision;
  • Your general conduct while on parole;
  • Your psychological state; and
  • Any intelligence information received from police or other sources.

If your parole is suspended, your Parole Officer will then notify the Parole Board who may take further action, including suspending your parole for longer, or cancelling it altogether.  If this happens, you may be required to stay in prison longer than 28 days.

PAROLE BOARDS

A Parole Board may amend, suspend or cancel your parole if they reasonably believe you:

  • Have not complied with the Parole Order;
  • Pose a risk of harm to yourself or another person;
  • Pose an unacceptable risk of committing a further offence/s; and/or
  • are preparing to leave Queensland.

If your Parole Officer has suspended your parole for 28 days and they have notified the Parole Board, during the 28 day suspension period the Parole Board will make a decision regarding the suspension of your parole order.  They may decide to:

  • Lift the parole suspension and allow you to return to the community;
  • Suspend your parole indefinitely to obtain the results of any pending court case; or
  • Cancel the original Parole Order – which would then require you to reapply for parole release.

A Parole Board may also amend or suspend a Parole Order if you are charged with committing another offence while on parole.

AMEND

A Parole Board has the power to amend (i.e. add or remove) any conditions that were originally placed on your Parole Order.

If it is reasonably practicable to do so before the amendment, you should be given a show cause notice (and ‘Information Notice’), detailing the proposed amendments being considered and the reasons that support such a proposed course of action.  As part of providing you with procedural fairness, you should be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to any proposed amendment (usually 21 days).

SUSPEND OR CANCEL

A Parole Board may suspend your parole for a particular period of time or indefinitely.  If a Parole Board suspends or cancels your parole and you are not already back in prison on a suspension order you will be arrested and returned to custody.

If a Parole Board suspends or cancels your parole, they must give you a show cause letter (Information Notice) when you are returned to prison.  The show cause letter will confirm whether your parole has been cancelled or suspended, the reasons for this decision being taken and the period of any suspension.

The show cause letter provided to you upon return to prison should advise you that you have 14 days to make written submissions for the Parole Board to consider.  If you require more time to respond to the show cause letter, you should write to the Parole Board within the specified 14 day period seeking additional time to make a response however, you will need to provide reasons for requesting additional time.  Once you have responded to the show cause letter issued by the Parole Board they must write to you, and advise whether they have changed their decision, and if so, how.  If they are not changing their decision they should also tell you why.

If a Parole Board cancels your court ordered parole, you will not be granted an automatic new parole date.  In these circumstances, you will have to make a written application for parole at your new parole eligibility date and proceed through the parole application process.

AUTOMATIC CANCELLATION

If, during the period of your parole you are sentenced to another period of imprisonment your parole will be automatically cancelled and you will be returned to custody.

Exceptions to this are where the new period of imprisonment is:

  • In default of paying a fine or restitution, or:
  • Required to be served under an intensive correction order, or
  • Wholly suspended, or
  • You are released from court.

BAIL AND BREACH OF PAROLE

Being granted bail does not mean automatic release from custody if your parole has already been suspended or cancelled.

A Parole Officer or Parole Board can suspend your parole order after you have been granted bail if they reasonably believe the new charges raise any of the grounds for suspension or cancellation mentioned above in 1 and 2.

It is possible that your parole may be suspended indefinitely while waiting for the court to make a final decision on any new charges.

DO YOU GET A SHOW CAUSE LETTER

  • If returned to custody by order of a Parole Board – YES
  • If returned to custody by order of a Parole Officer and the parole suspension expires (usually after 28 days) – YES
  • If returned to custody by order of a Parole Officer and released at or before 28 days – NO

If you are in custody for more than 28 days you should have a show cause letter (Information Notice) sent to you.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Before a decision is made:

You can write submissions to the Parole Board.  You do not need to wait for a show cause letter, but it may be prudent to wait if you are unsure of the reason for the breach of parole.

In your letter to the Parole Board, at minimum, you should briefly address the following topics:

  • What went wrong on parole?;
  • Why it won’t happen again;
  • If you are charged with offences, do you have bail?;
  • Your personal circumstances;
    • Financial circumstances;
    • Employment;
    • Place of residence
    • Family relationships

After a decision is made:

If a decision is made to amend, suspend or cancel your parole you may be able to Judicially Review the decision.  The first step in undertaking a Judicial Review is to request a Statement of Reasons for the decision that has been made.  To obtain the Statement of Reasons you would write to the Parole Board that made the decision asking for Statement of Reasons related to their decision.

This information is intended to provide information only and is no substitute for legal advice.  If you wish to take any action arising from matters raised in this publication you should consult a lawyer at Russo Lawyers immediately.