Applying for Parole (WA)
A prisoner will be considered for parole in Western Australia by the Prisoners Review Board when they become eligible. The Board can grant, defer or refuse parole to a prisoner, and will take into account factors that affect the prisoner, the victims, and the broader community.
If parole is granted, an order will set out the date of the prisoner’s release and the specific conditions that have to be met while they are on parole. A parolee is supervised by Corrections and must comply with conditions to protect the community and to allow the Board to monitor their behaviour.
Parole is more likely to be granted to a prisoner who has complied with prison rules and shown a commitment to maintaining a positive lifestyle and to becoming a valuable member of the community.
The law that governs parole in Western Australia is the Sentence Administration Act 2003.
When a Western Australian court imposes a prison sentence, it decides whether the defendant will be able to apply for parole and at what point in their sentence they may apply. When a court is sentencing a person for a very serious offence, it may elect not to set a non-parole period. This means that the prisoner will have to serve the whole of their prison sentence in prison. .
Prisoners who are eligible in Western Australia will be given a date when parole can be considered.
Under the Sentence Administration Act 2003, when a person is sentenced to four years imprisonment or less, they must serve half of their term in prison before being eligible for parole. When a person is sentenced to more than four years imprisonment they are eligible for parole when they have served all but two years of their prison sentence.
When a prisoner has not committed a ‘serious offence’ and is not a ‘prescribed prisoner’ and has been sentenced to less than 12 months imprisonment, parole is automatic.
A prescribed prisoner is a person who:
- is serving a sentence for a serious offence
- has served a sentence for a serious offence within the last five years or
- was subject to an early release order that was cancelled in the two years before the current sentence.
To be considered for parole in Western Australia, a prisoner must submit a parole plan to the Prisoners Review Board. The plan is considered by the Board when deciding whether to grant parole to a prisoner. The Prison Unit Supervisor or a Community Corrections Officer can assist in preparing it.
The plan should include:
- the address where the prisoner proposes to live and the names of others living there. A plan which proposes the prisoner live with the victim of a violent crime will not be accepted.
- details of any community support the offender will receive if released
- details of the work the person will do, including voluntary work, or the training they will undertake
- a list of all the skills and education training the prisoner has undertaken in prison, along with copies of certificates
- a list of any programs completed by the prisoner while serving their sentence, along with copies of certificates
- details of the services the prisoner plans to access to meet their treatment needs
- any other information the prisoner wishes to present, including any written commitment from a family member, friend or welfare agency that confirms they will help the prisoner upon their release into the community.
Parole review report
When a prisoner is being considered for parole, a parole review report is prepared by Community Corrections. This report is sent to the Board along with the parole plan devised by the prisoner, and any medical reports, or Treatment Programme Completion report. The parole review report will include information about:
- the prisoner’s behaviour in prison;
- any rehabilitation programs the prisoner has participated in;
- the proposed support for the prisoner in the community;
- whether any ongoing treatment the prisoner needs is available in the community;
- the prisoner’s supervision history, including incidents, charges, victim issues, health, participation in treatment programs, living arrangements, support in the community and employment.
Persons affected by the prisoner’s offending can write a letter to the Board setting out their views on the effect the prisoner’s release may have on them and the rest of the community.
Refusal by the Board
When the Board decides to deny parole to a prisoner in Western Australia, it must give written reasons. A review of a negative decision can be requested if the decision:
- doesn’t comply with the Sentence Administration Act or regulations
- there was an error of law by the Board
- incorrect or irrelevant information was provided or correct information was not provided.
Only one review can be requested after a refusal of parole. A new application can be made if the prisoner has new information that will be significant to the Board.
If a parolee doesn’t comply with a condition of their parole in Western Australia, this is called a breach of parole. When the Board is informed of a breach, it can:
- send a warning letter to the parolee
- suspend or cancel parole.
If parole is suspended, the parolee will be arrested, returned to prison for a fixed period, and then re-released on parole. If parole is cancelled, the parolee will be arrested and sent to prison until the end of their sentence or until the Prisoners Review Board agrees to grant them parole again.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.