Scheduling a hearing
When an offender becomes eligible for parole, a parole hearing is scheduled.
The victim will be notified about the hearing at least three months in advance. You will be invited to make a written or oral submission. This is your chance to present your views about the offender’s possible release.
To receive these notices, you must be registered on the Victim Notification Register. If you move address or change any contact details after the offender is sentenced, remember to email email@example.com to let the Department of Corrections know how to stay in contact with you.
Learn more about the victim meeting process in this short video created by the Parole Board.
The Board will prepare
They prepare for the hearing by reading background information and a parole assessment provided by the Department of Corrections, as well as any written submissions. The offender is also invited to make a submission.
At the formal parole hearing, which is not open to victims or the public, the Board meets with the offender and usually questions them. They may tell the offender about the views victims have shared in any victim submissions. The offender might have also support people present.
Victims do not attend offender hearings however the board will report back to registered victims on the outcome of the hearing and the reasons for their decision.
Making a submission
Making a submission allows the Parole Board to consider what you have to say when determining whether or how to release the offender. Under the Parole Act, the Board must give due weight to any submission from victims. You can choose to make either an oral or a written submission.
Registered victims have the right to request information from the Parole Board to consider when making their submission, including:
- a list of any rehabilitative programmes attended and completed during the sentence
- the offender’s current prison security classification
- any convictions imposed since the beginning of the sentence
If you want to make an oral submission to the Parole Board, you need to advise the Board in advance. An appointment will be made for you to make a presentation to the Board before the hearing. You could make a presentation in person or via video conferencing.
- You can have a support person with you when you make your oral submission.
- The offender will not be present when you make an oral submission, but will hear a summary of it at their hearing.
- Written submissions need to be one A4 page or less in length. Your Victim Support Worker can help you to prepare your submission.
- If you make a written submission, you can indicate whether you would like the offender to see your submission or not. However, please be aware that while the Board will consider your wishes, they reserve the right to decide whether the offender sees your submission based on the needs of the hearing.
- The media may be present at the hearing and may report on yours and the offender’s statements.
The Board’s decision
The Board decides if they will grant parole or not and may also impose specific conditions such as where the offender can live, who they can contact or not contact, if they must respect a curfew at night, or if they can drink alcohol. These conditions are set by the Parole Board to help protect the community.
The Board must give reasons for their decision, and any conditions set, to the offender in writing. These will also be given to you as a registered victim when you are formally notified of the outcome of the parole hearing.
The Parole Board also undertakes other tasks, including considering an offender’s compassionate release application or extending supervision orders.
See more here on the Parole Board’s answers to some common questions about this process.
Phone 0800 PAROLE – 0800 727 653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact the Parole Board.
Support through Parole
Parole can be unsettling and stressful for victims. Victim Support works closely with the Parole Board to make sure victims have a voice in the process and are supported through it. Even if you have not been in contact with Victim Support since before the offender was sentenced, you can re-engage with Victim Support at any time. You can call us 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to be connected with a Support Worker.
Find out more about Support through the parole process here.
Other useful information and websites
Video – A Guide to a Victim Meeting (made by The Parole Board)
Video – What is the Parole Board? (made by The Parole Board)