Section 3 (1) of the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 defines a Serious Offender as:
(a) an offender who is serving a sentence for life,
(b) an offender who is serving a sentence for which a non-parole period has been set in accordance with Schedule 1 to the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999,
(c) an offender who is serving a sentence (or one of a series of sentences of imprisonment) where the term of the sentence (or the combined terms of all of the sentences in the series) is such that the offender will not become eligible for release from custody, including release on parole, until he or she has spent at least 12 years in custody,
(d) an offender who is for the time being required to be managed as a serious offender in accordance with a decision of the sentencing court, the Parole Authority or the Commissioner,
(e) an offender who has been convicted of murder and who is subject to a sentence in respect of the conviction,
(f) an offender who belongs to a class of persons prescribed by the regulations to be serious offenders for the purposes of this definition.
Serious offenders are managed in custody by the Serious Offenders Review Council (SORC). More information about
SORC can be found here.
One role of the Council is to provide advice to the State Parole Authority concerning the release on parole of serious offenders as they become eligible for release on parole advising, in particular, whether or not it is appropriate for the inmate to be considered for release on parole by the Authority.
After considering all the material available in relation to the serious offender including a report from the Serious Offenders Review Council (SORC), the Parole Authority forms an intention to grant parole or an intention to refuse parole.
Except in exceptional circumstances, the Parole Authority must not make a parole order for a serious offender unless the SORC advises that it is appropriate for the offender to be considered for release on parole (s.197(2)(a) and 135(3) of the Act.).
If the Authority forms an intention to refuse parole, the offender is provided with the reason for parole and may be given the opportunity to apply for a public review hearing.
If the Authority forms an intention to grant parole, the Authority lists the matter for a public hearing. This allows for the State or registered victims to make submissions to the Authority regarding the release of the offender prior to the Authority granting parole or refusing parole.
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