When a defendant is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, they will typically be released at some time during their jail sentence on parole.
Parole is a conditional release order issued by the court. Parole allows a prisoner to serve part or all of their prison sentence in the community. A released prisoner is required to abide by all conditions of their parole order and is under the supervision of a parole officer within the community.
Where a sentencing court orders a parole eligibility date, the applicant (prisoner) must make an application for parole to the Parole Board Queensland (“the Board”).
Other circumstances in which an application to the Board is necessary include when an existing parole order is cancelled or when an application for parole is refused initially and a subsequent application is made.
A grant of parole made by the Board is often referred to as ‘Board ordered parole.’
The application process for parole tends to follow these steps:
There are a number of standard parole conditions that are included in all parole orders.
These standard parole conditions include:
Additional parole conditions may include:
The Board may choose to:
Where there is a preliminary refusal, the Board may invite the applicant to make submissions to address issues raised. The Board then may make a final decision to grant or refuse parole.
A ‘new application’ for parole can be submitted up to 180 days before the court-ordered parole eligibility date.
If the application is a subsequent application following an initial refusal by the Board to grant parole, the further application must be made within the time frames set out within the reasons for refusal correspondence.
An application for parole cannot be made if there is a pending appeal on foot with respect to the sentence the parole eligibility date relates to.
When considering an application for parole, the Board considers a number of factors, including:
The Parole Board must usually decide the application within 120 days of receiving the application. If the decision was deferred for additional information to be obtained, then the Board will have 150 days rather than 120 days.
A decision regarding an application for parole made by the Board can be subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court of Queensland. There are particular grounds to be argued under the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld).
The grounds relevant to the refusal of parole will vary from case to case. A judicial review does not involve simply arguing the original decision was incorrect.
Where there is an application for judicial review, the Supreme Court of Queensland has the power to set aside the Board’s decision but cannot make a new decision on behalf of the Board. If the decision is set aside, it will be referred back to the Board for further consideration and a fresh decision.
An application for judicial review of a Parole Board decision must be made within 28 days of the written reasons regarding the decision being received.
Our lawyers at Gilshenan & Luton offer assistance in a variety of parole matters. A lawyer can be beneficial to help navigate the various phases of a parole matter and liaise with the Board on your behalf.
If you are in need of legal assistance for a parole matter, contact Gilshenan & Luton for further advice and assistance.
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This article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require further information, advice or assistance for your specific circumstances, please contact Gilshenan & Luton, Criminal & Employment Lawyers Brisbane and Sunshine Coast, Queensland.