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The NSW State Parole Authority (the Authority):
decides which inmates, whose sentence includes a non-parole period, will be released to parole;
sets the conditions of release;
determines if and how a parole order should be revoked; and
determines if and how a home detention or periodic detention order should be revoked, substituted or reinstated.
The Authority considers the release to parole of inmates who have sentences of more than three years with a non-parole period. A non-parole period is a minimum term of imprisonment during which an offender is not eligible to be released from prison to parole.
A court which sentences an offender to a term of imprisonment of three years or less to may also set a non-parole period. The non-parole period for these shorter sentences entitles the offender to be 'automatically' released from custody without the case having to come before the Authority. The release of offenders subject to 'automatic court based parole orders' is also dependent on appropriate post release plans and arrangements being made by the Probation and Parole Service.
When deciding whether to release an offender on parole, the Authority considers the interests of the community, the rights of the victim, the intentions of the sentencing court and the needs of the offender. The Authority considers a broad range of material when deciding whether or not to release an inmate to parole and must have determined that it has sufficient reason to believe the offender, if released from custody, would be able to adapt to normal lawful community life.
The principal purpose of granting parole is to serve the public interest by closely supervising the offender during his or her period of reintegration into the community. In all cases, strict conditions of parole are imposed and the Authority may also set additional conditions specifically tailored to address the underlying factors of an inmate's offending behaviour.
If a parolee fails to comply with the conditions of a parole order, it is the Authority's role to consider the revocation of parole orders, including those issued by courts. The Authority may also consider the revocation of a court-based parole order, before release, if the inmate shows an inability to adapt to normal, lawful community life.
The Authority welcomes letters from all victims. If an offender is a "serious offender" managed by the Serious Offenders Review Council any registered victim of crime (that is, on the Victims Register) is able to make a submission to the Parole Authority before it makes its final decision on whether or not to release the offender on parole.
Victims of serious offenders are encouraged to register with the Victims Register (Corrective Services NSW) and to seek their assistance and advice in preparing a submission.
A victim of a "serious offender" also has a right under legislation to access edited copies of specific reports received and considered by the Authority. Arrangements to access documents are coordinated by the Victims Register.
Any victim of crime can attend an Authority court hearing. The offender appears at this hearing by way of a video conferencing link to the correctional centre where they are housed.
Victims need to be aware that the offender can see a section of the public gallery via the video conferencing link. Victims are therefore encouraged to speak to the Sheriff's Officer or to the Authority court staff to be directed to the section of the public gallery that is not subject to a video link camera.