Parole Act changes to ensure public safety
Parliament has today passed legislation to ensure the Department of Corrections can continue to safely manage a small number of high-risk offenders living in the community.
Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis said a recent High Court judgment found that the Parole Act 2002 prevents people on extended supervision orders with programme conditions from living with their programme providers in the community.
The judgement impacts people subject to extended supervision orders with programme and residential conditions. These residential conditions direct where a person lives and can include what times they have to be at their residence. Programme conditions require a person to participate in rehabilitative and reintegrative activities to reduce the risk of further offending.
Offenders on an extended supervision order residing with their programme providers through a combination of these conditions is a longstanding and effective practice. It ensures these people have wrap-around support and supervision during their reintegration process in a safe, stable and structured environment.
The Parole Amendment Bill amends the Parole Act 2002 to ensure this can still happen.
“These are people who have a history of serious sexual and violent offending but must be released after serving their sentences,” Kelvin Davis said.
“They remain a high risk of committing further offences and public safety always has to be the top priority. This change will ensure that as well as continuing to make sure these people receive the support they need.”
The Bill also introduces a requirement for the New Zealand Parole Board to review the programme conditions of affected offenders at least every two years to ensure that they continue to be appropriate for the person and are no more restrictive than necessary.
Corrections is currently managing approximately 27 people subject to an extended supervision order who have their programme conditions and residential conditions delivered by the same provider.
Community housing services on prison land are an example of where people are receiving daily reintegration support from their accommodation provider in the place they live.
This Bill ensures people can continue living at these types of accommodation services, which are critical to ensuring effective supported reintegration, reducing reoffending and keeping our communities safe.