Applying for Parole in Queensland: What You Need to Know
Do you have a loved one in prison who has a parole eligibility date coming up and who wants to apply for parole? Then this article is for you.
Someone who has been given a parole eligibility date at sentence by the Court or who has had their parole orders cancelled will need to make an application to the Parole Board Queensland to be considered for release on parole.
The parole system in Queensland plays a vital role in the criminal justice system. It offers a path for individuals convicted of crimes to reintegrate into society while under supervision. In Queensland, the parole system is designed to promote rehabilitation, reduce recidivism, and protect the community.
Applying for parole is a complex process, with numerous steps and requirements that both those applying for parole and their families should understand. In this article, we will delve into the parole application process in Queensland, outlining the key steps and considerations involved.
Before we dive in, there’s some important things to quickly note:
- Below, we explain the general laws and procedures that relate to applying for parole for people who have been convicted of State (Queensland) offences;
- This article does not explain the laws and procedures that apply to people who are serving sentences for federal (Commonwealth) offences or who are subject to special provisions under the Corrective Services Act 2006 (Qld) such as ‘no body no parole’, ‘restricted prisoners’ and ‘links to terrorism’.
If your loved one falls into one of these categories, get in touch with us to discuss how their application process will differ;
- This article also does not explain the process for someone who has had their parole suspended and is the subject of a return to prison warrant. We will be publishing an article on that process soon. If your loved one’s parole has been suspended, give us a call today to discuss how we can help; and
- This information relates to parole applications lodged after 8 June 2022.
What is Parole?
Parole is a conditional release from prison before the end of a sentence, provided certain criteria are met. The parolee is supervised in the community by Corrective Services (Probation and Parole office) until the end of their sentence.
When someone is released on parole, there are usually a number of conditions which will be attached to the parole order relating to things like (for example) where they can live, reporting to their parole officer, drug and alcohol testing, curfews, electronic monitoring, attending courses, programs, meetings and counselling etc.
Any breach of these conditions can result in the parole order being suspended or cancelled.
When Can You Apply?
When a person can apply for parole will depend on whether:
- it is their first time applying for parole after being sentenced by the Court; or
- they’ve applied for parole previously, but it’s been refused; or
- they are applying for parole again after their parole order was cancelled.
For someone who has been sentenced by the Court to a term of imprisonment, with a parole eligibility date, an application for parole can be submitted 6 months (180 days) before the parole eligibility date.
If the Parole Board refuses someone’s application for parole, they will provide them with a letter outlining their reasons for the refusal along with a timeframe in which they can reapply again.
The maximum time someone will have to wait after a parole refusal is 6 months, or 3 years if they are serving a life sentence.
If a parole order has been cancelled, a person can submit a new application for parole straight away.
The Parole Application Process
To apply for parole, the following two documents need to be provided to the Parole Board:
- Form 29 – Parole Application
- Form 176 – Accommodation Risk Assessment Request
Whilst an application for parole does not technically need to include any further material, the Parole Board considers all documents submitted with the application very carefully.
We assist all our clients in their applications for parole by preparing detailed written submissions, outlining all factors in favour of their release on parole.
Once the material has been received by Parole, a number of things will happen:
- Probation & Parole will complete your accommodation assessment and provide a report to the Parole Board for their consideration;
- The applicant will attend an interview with Sentence Management at the correctional centre they are being held at to discuss the parole application;
- Queensland Corrective Services will complete a report for the Parole Board, including information about the interview (above) and a review of any previous probation and parole history, and custodial placement. It’s important to note here that the Parole Board will be provided with information about the prisoner’s good and bad behaviour during their time in history;
- The Parole Board will schedule a date to consider all of the material and make a decision about your application. The Parole Board may make a final decision on this day, or they may write to you to request further information.
What does the Parole Board Consider When Deciding a Parole Application?
The highest priority for the Parole Board when considering parole applications is the safety of the community. Relevant factors in determining the risk someone poses to the community include (but are not limited to):
- The applicant’s criminal history and any patterns of offending;
- The likelihood of the applicant committing further offences;
- Whether there are any other circumstances that are likely to increase the risk the applicant presents to the community;
- The recommendation for parole, parole eligibility date, or any other recommendation or comments of the sentencing court;
- The applicant’s cooperation with the authorities both in securing the conviction of others and preservation of good order within the prison;
- Any medical, psychological, behavioural or risk assessment report relevant to the application for parole;
- Any submissions made to the Parole Board Queensland by an eligible person registered on the Queensland Corrective Services Victims Register;
- The applicant’s compliance with any other previous grants of parole or leave of absence;
- Whether the applicant has access to supports or services that may reduce the risk to present presents to the community; and
- Recommended rehabilitation programs or interventions and the applicant’s progress in addressing the recommendations.
In preparing our written submissions for our clients’ parole applications, we address the above factors in detail to assist the Parole Board in their decision-making process and to reduce the potential delay in the application process.
How Can We Help
We assist many of our clients in applying for parole. The stages you can engage us to help with your (or a loved one’s) application for parole can vary, including:
- Prior to being sentenced in Court, to ensure we are putting your best foot forward for a future potential parole application from the get-go;
- Before your parole eligibility date and before you have submitted your application;
- After you have submitted your application for parole to assess your application and to advise whether further material should be submitted to help with your application.
Prior to submitting a parole application, we frequently recommend specific actions to our clients, such as obtaining a psychologist’s report or enrolling in a program aimed at addressing their offending behaviour, all of which can enhance the strength of their application. It’s therefore beneficial to engage us as soon as possible to assist in your (or your loved one’s) application for parole.
Call us today so that we can step you through the process as it relates to you.