Serious offenders FAQs

How are Serious Offenders managed in custody?

Serious offenders are managed in custody by the Serious Offenders Review Council (SORC). More information can be found on the SORC website.

A key role of SORC is to provide advice to the State Parole Authority (SPA) whether it is appropriate an inmate be released on parole.

As required by law, unless there are “exceptional circumstances” the SPA must not make a parole order for a Serious Offender unless the SORC advises it is appropriate to do so [s.197(2)(a) and 135(3) of the Act].

In other words, unless “exceptional circumstances” can be demonstrated, the SPA cannot go against the advice of the SORC.

What is the parole process for Serious Offenders?

As with all inmates, the process for Serious Offenders begins 60 days before their eligible for parole date.

The SPA is required to consider all relevant and available material about the inmate, including a report from the Serious Offenders Review Council (SORC) advising whether parole is appropriate.

At a meeting to decide parole, the Parole Authority then forms either an intention to grant parole or an intention to refuse parole.

What happens if the Parole Authority forms an intention to refuse parole?

The inmate is provided with the reasons for the parole decision and may be given the opportunity to apply for a review.

If that is refused, the Serious Offender may be reconsidered on their anniversary date the following year.

What happens if the Parole Authority forms an intention to grant parole?

If the SPA forms an intention to grant parole, the matter is listed for a public hearing in court. 

This allows for the State or any registered victim or their families to make submissions to the SPA about the release of the inmate.

These submissions are taken into consideration before any final decision is made about granting parole or refusing parole.

The SPA must give notice of its intention to grant parole to any registered victim/s and this task is completed by the Victims Register.

In the event parole is granted, the SPA sets a release date no earlier than two weeks from the date of decision to allow for any appeals that may be lodged.  

The release of all inmates from custody is managed by CSNSW. 

Victims of Serious Offenders

If you are a victim of a Serious Offender, you can choose to make either a written or verbal submission. 

Serious Offenders are first considered for parole in a closed meeting attended only by SPA members.

If the SPA members form an Intention to Grant Parole at that meeting, the matter is then stood over to a public review hearing in court to allow for any Victim or the State to make a Submission.

Victims of Serious Offenders can attend public review hearings and, if they wish, address their submission directly to the panel members in the courtroom.

Victims will be able to see the offender via AVL on a screen in the courtroom but can choose to sit in the public gallery and remain out of sight of the offender.  

If you need help writing your submission you can contact the Victims Register for assistance on:

Phone: (02) 8688 6833

Last updated:

15 Jul 2022

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