Review of the Victorian adult parole system report

23 March 2012

When sentencing an offender to a period of imprisonment of at least one year, Victorian courts ordinarily fix a non-parole period as part of the sentence.

This means that, when the non-parole period expires, the Adult Parole Board has discretion to release the offender into the community to serve the remainder of the sentence on parole, under the supervision of Community Correctional Services. While on parole, the offender is subject to a range of conditions. If those conditions are breached, the Board may cancel parole, and the offender will be returned to prison. Victoria Police plays an important role, particularly in detecting breaches that involve the commission of further offences.

At the commencement of the Council’s review, there was no legislated or agreed articulated purpose of parole in Victoria. As such, there can be misunderstanding in the community about the nature and purpose of parole. There can be a lack of awareness that parole represents only conditional release and that a parolee remains under sentence while on parole. There may also be a misapprehension that parole exists only for the benefit of prisoners, whereas parole is – and has historically been – focused on improving the long-term protection of the community through the rehabilitation of prisoners.

In consultations for this review, there was agreement on the importance of having an articulated purpose of parole. The Council considers that the purpose of parole is to promote public safety by supervising and supporting the release and integration of prisoners into the community, thereby minimising their risk of reoffending (in terms of both frequency and seriousness) while they are on parole and after they complete their sentences. This formulation of the purpose of parole was accepted by the majority of stakeholders, including the Adult Parole Board, Corrections Victoria and Victoria Police.

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