Page 1171 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2012

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Answers to questions

Sentence Administration Board—annual report
(Question No 1987)

Mrs Dunne asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 14 February 2012:

(1) In relation to the 2010-11 annual report of the Sentence Administration Board, Justice and Community Safety Directorate annual report, Volume 1, page 273, what was the backlog of parole applications to be heard by the Board as at 30 June 2011.

(2) How long is it between receipt of a parole application and the Board’s hearing of that application on average.

(3) What is the Board’s target time delay between receipt of application and Board hearing.

(4) How do these figures compare with other jurisdictions.

(5) Is there a need for speedier turnaround times; if so, what strategies does the Board have in place and operating to achieve this turnaround.

Mr Corbell: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) As at 30 June 2011 the Secretariat had received 21 applications for parole which had not yet been considered by the Board.

The Sentence Administration Board (SAB) endeavours to hear all parole applications prior to the expiration of the parole eligibility date or non-parole period (NPP). Detainees may apply for parole within the six month period leading up to their NPP. The SAB Secretariat takes into account each detainee’s NPP when scheduling matters for the SAB; therefore, not all applications are put before the SAB as soon as they are received, particularly where they are received early in the six month period.

(2) Once the application is acknowledged by the SAB as being received it is set down for an inquiry by the SAB, where the case is considered on the papers. This generally occurs approximately eight weeks after acknowledgement of application, due to the provision in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the SAB and the Probation and Parole Unit (PPU) that allows an eight week period for the PPU to provide a Pre Release Report.

If the matter goes to a hearing where the offender is able to appear in person, this will generally occur in a further two weeks’ time (when the inquiry SAB Chair is again presiding).

(3) The SAB endeavours to have matters at hearing prior to the expiration of the detainee’s NPP.

(4) The ACT is the only jurisdiction where a detainee must apply for parole. In all other jurisdictions parole is an automatic process and therefore it is difficult to compare.

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