Parole consideration

In NSW, inmates become eligible for parole on the date the non-parole period of their sentence ends.

Offenders can be released on parole in one of two ways:  on a State Parole Authority (SPA) order or a statutory parole order (court-imposed).

The SPA only makes parole orders for inmates serving prison sentences more than 3 years and 1 day.

Inmates serving less than 3 years in prison are automatically released on statutory parole by the courts when their non parole period expires.

However, the SPA has legislative powers to revoke parole for any offender who breaches conditions, irrespective of what type of parole order.

Inmates do not apply for their first parole hearing because the legislation states the SPA must begin assessing their suitability for release on parole about 60 days before their eligibility date (which is set by the Sentencing Judge).

The SPA must make a final decision on parole no later than 21 days before the eligibility release date.

While the law states every eligible inmate must be considered for parole, it doesn't mean offenders are automatically released by the State Parole Authority at the end of the non-parole period.   

When an inmate is listed for parole consideration, the SPA holds a closed meeting. It is called a closed meeting because only the five members of the panel take part in the process. Inmates and their legal representatives do not attend closed meetings.

The process of deciding whether to grant or refuse parole is complex and a large amount of material for each offender is read and evaluated by panel members.

The following documents help SPA panels make informed decisions:

  • Judge’s Sentencing Remarks
  • Criminal record
  • Information about the offender’s behaviour and classification in custody 
  • Pre-release report by Community Corrections with advice on risk assessments, recommendations, and post-release plans
  • Report by the Serious Offender Review Council (for Serious Offenders)

Other documents that may be provided include:

  • Reports from psychologists or psychiatrists 
  • Submissions from the victims/s or family 
  • Submissions from the inmate, their family or legal representative  
  • Submissions from the State (for serious offenders) or Commissioner of CSNSW (for offenders of special interest) 

For any Serious Offender being considered for parole, their matter is first discussed at a closed meeting, where the SPA panel can form an intention to either grant or refuse parole.

If an intention to refuse parole is made, the offender can apply for a review of the decision. If that too is refused, the matter is next listed on the anniversary date (usually in 12 months).

If an intention to grant parole is made the matter is listed for a public review hearing held in open court which provides an opportunity for the vicitms or the State of NSW to make to the SPA before a final parole decision is made.

Last updated:

19 Jul 2022

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