Applying for Parole – How the Process Works

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It is important to understand that prisoners are not entitled to be released once they reach their parole eligibility date.

The Parole Board can consider various matters in deciding whether a prisoner is suitable for release – ultimately, their highest priority is the community’s safety. This is why prisoners must understand how the parole system works so they can maximise their chances of success in obtaining release at the earliest possible date.

The current parole application process generally involves the following steps:

  1. Lodging application: A prisoner will lodge a parole application by submitting a Form 29 and Form 176. They can lodge an application up to six months before their eligibility date.
  2. Interview: Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) will then arrange an interview between the prisoner and a staff member from either Probation & Parole, QCS or a psychologist. In the interview, the prisoner will be asked about various matters including their criminal history, behaviour in custody and release plans. The interviewer will then produce a report about whether they’re a good candidate for parole. This report will be considered by the Parole Board, but the recommendations are not binding.
  3. Accommodation: QCS will also arrange for the prisoner’s accommodation proposal to be sent to the Probation & Parole office that is closest to that address. They will assess the suitability of the address, including whether the sponsor is happy for the prisoner to live there and knows about their criminal history. They will produce a report which will be sent to the Parole Board who will decide whether the accommodation is suitable. If it’s considered unsuitable, the prisoner will most likely be able to submit an alternative accommodation proposal.
  4. Further information: The Parole Board may request further information at any stage of the application. For example, if a prisoner is a client of Prison Mental Health Services (PMHS), they may request a report in relation to the prisoner’s mental health treatment in the community. In some cases, they may also request a prisoner undergo a risk assessment with a psychiatrist or psychologist.
  5. Preliminary Refusal: If the Parole Board are thinking about refusing a prisoner’s parole application, they will send them what is called a “preliminary refusal” letter. This letter should explain in detail their concerns about releasing a prisoner and invite them to make submissions in response. It is essential that the prisoner make submissions in response addressing the concerns and explaining why they think they are suitable for parole. They will usually be given 14 days to make submissions in reply but they can ask for an extension of time.
  6. Final Decision: The Parole Board will write to the prisoner notifying them of their decision about their application. If it is a refusal decision, the prisoner will be invited to reapply for parole at most in six months’ time from the date of the refusal decision. Any prisoner who wants to commence judicial review proceedings must request a statement of reasons within 28 days of receiving the refusal decision.

Fisher Dore has a dedicated team of lawyers who can assist your loved one with their parole application, contact us for more information.


Written by: Fisher Dore

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 the Fisher Dore team.

 

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