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Parole (ACT)

Parole is the conditional release of a prisoner who has not yet served all of their sentence. In the ACT, decisions about parole are made by the Sentence Administration Board and governed by the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005. This page deals with parole in the ACT.

Non-parole periods

In the ACT, when a person is sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than 12 months, the court must set a non-parole period unless it is inappropriate to do so.

The person must serve the first part of their sentence in prison. When the date of the non-parole period is reached, they may apply to the Sentence Administration Board for parole.

If the Board grants parole, the person may serve the rest of their sentence living in the community under supervision and subject to conditions.

Parole orders

Under section 120 of the Crimes (Sentences Administration) Act 2005, the Board may make a parole order only if it considers that it is appropriate in the circumstances. The public interest is of primary importance is deciding this. The Board must also consider the following:

  • Any recommendations, comments or observations made by the court
  • The offenders; criminal history and bail history
  • Any submissions made to the board by victims of the offender
  • The likely effect of parole on victims
  • Any report required or prepared in relation to the grant of parole
  • The offender’s conduct while in prison
  • The offender’s participation in activities while in prison
  • The likelihood that, if paroled, they will commit offences
  • The likelihood that, if paroled, they will comply with conditions
  • Whether parole is likely to assist them to adjust to life in the community
  • Any special circumstances.

A person may apply for parole six months before their non-parole period date is reached.

Applying for parole

When a person applies for parole, the board must seek the views of victims, and give them the opportunity to tell the Board about any concerns they have about a grant of parole.

The Board may decide on parole without holding a hearing.

If the Board does not have enough information to decide without a hearing, it must set a date for a hearing and give written notice to the director-general of corrections, the director of public prosecutions, and the offender. The offender must be invited to attend the hearing or make a submission to the Board about being paroled. If the offender does not make a submission to the parole hearing, parole will be refused.


A person who is granted parole will be subject to the following conditions:

  • The person must not commit an offence punishable by imprisonment
  • If the person is charged with an offence, they must inform the director-general within two days
  • The person must not change their contact details without the director-general’s approval
  • The person must comply with directions of the director-general in relation to their parole (such as to take part in alcohol and drug testing)
  • The person must appear before the Board as required

Other conditions may also be added to a parole order.

When is a sentence served?

If a person is placed on a parole order and reaches the need of their sentence without the order being cancelled, they are discharged from their term of imprisonment.


If a person breaches the conditions of their parole, the Board may:

  • take no action
  • give them a warning
  • give the director-general directions about their supervision
  • cancel the parole order.

If a person is found guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment while on a parole order, the order will automatically be cancelled.

When an order is cancelled, the offender will be returned to prison the serve the rest of their sentence. It is important to note that the time they have lived in the community subject to the parole order will not be taken into account. They will have to serve the amount of time that remained on their sentence on the date they were paroled.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Fernanda Dahlstrom

This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

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