The decision making process for considering parole for a serious offender is the same as non-serious offenders, however, contains an additional step of consideration, being the advice of the Serious Offenders Review Council (SORC). Along with the documents already available to the Authority a report is also provided by the SORC.
Section 135(3) of the Act states, Except in exceptional circumstances, the Parole Authority must not make a parole order for a serious offender unless the Review Council (SORC) advises that it is appropriate for the offender to be considered for release on parole.
In the event that SORC advise that release to parole is appropriate and the Parole Authority have also determined that release to parole is appropriate, rather than granting parole, the Authority form an intention to grant parole. As with all decisions to grant parole, both conditions and reasons for this decision must be provided.
An intention to grant parole is formed to allow legislative requirements to occur being:
Neither of these parties is compelled to make submissions or attend the review hearing.
A review hearing is scheduled some 4-6 weeks after the intention to grant parole is determined. Both the registered victims and the State are informed of the hearing and their opportunity to make a submission.
The offender’s legal representative also has the opportunity to make their own submission and may call evidence from the offender or Community Corrections. The Authority also has the opportunity to ask questions of the State, the offender, the Community Corrections representative and legal representatives.
Once all the evidence has been heard, the Authority will retire to make a decision.
In the event that the Authority determine that parole should be granted, the Authority converts their intention to grant parole into a release to parole. The previously nominated conditions and reasons need to be amended or added to as required.
If the Authority requires further information prior to making a final determination, the matter can be stood over to request further reports.
Alternatively, if the Authority determines that the offender should not be released to parole, the reasons for this decision will need to be recorded