Parole Board annual report :Parole Board of the Northern Territory
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Parole Board of the Northern Territory
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ANNUAL REPORT 2014 30 PAROLE BOARD OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY | ANNUAL REPORT 2014 PAROLE BOARD OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY | ANNUAL REPORT 2014 31 In 2014, the Parole of Prisoners Act saw two amendments. The first was a consequential amendment that modified the name of the Act to the Parole Act when the new Correctional Services Act was introduced in November 2014. The second amendment, also in November 2014, was a more substantial amendment whereby the Act was modified to allow the members appointed under section 3B(1)(d), a medical practitioner or registered psychologist, to attend any meeting. As the current legislation stood, these members were only able to attend meetings considering parole applications for prisoners serving a sentence of life imprisonment for the crime of murder. The amendments increased the constitution of the Board (for general matters) by adding a discretionary seventh psychologist/medical professional member who, where it is considered appropriate by the Chairperson, may now be invited to meetings where the Board will be considering matters of particular seriousness and complexity. There was no change to the quorum of the Board for general meetings and the psychologist/ medical professional is already an appointed member of the Board. AMENDMENTS TO LEGISLATION IN 2014 PROJECTS Taking the Parole Board Paperless Work commenced in late 2011 into researching options to electronically manage Parole Board meetings and deliver documents to members. In 2013, the development, testing and implementation of the remaining IOMS enhancements were completed and the primary focus of the project moved to eScribe. Significant work was undertaken with the developers and key stakeholders to support the introduction of eScribe in a manner that was compatible with the requirements of the Northern Territory Government and maintained the confidentiality and security of the material provided to the Board. eScribe was initially trialled by a select group of members of the Board in October and November 2013 before going live for all members in December 2013. Members were provided with a one on one training session to assist them in learning the product and on-site support was also made available at the meeting. Members continued to receive hard copy files for the January and February 2014 meetings whilst transitioning to the new system. From March 2014 meetings of the Board became completely paperless. eScribe has proven to be a much more efficient way for members to receive and access all of the documents which they must consider at each meeting of the Board. Paperless meetings are now business as usual for the Parole Board and will continue to be into the future. Development of Aboriginal Language Resources Following a tender which was awarded in 2013, Community Corrections worked with Creative Territory and the Aboriginal Interpreting Service to undertake a project to design and implement a suite of educational resources that are available in plain written English and, once completed, will be available in audio in nine Indigenous languages. The resources will be utilised by Community Corrections staff using an iPad application and will be available to other agencies and the wider public via the Correctional Services website. The resources are a tool to assist in increasing understanding amongst offenders, their families and communities; they are not designed to replace the case management work undertaken by the Probation and Parole Officer or the role of an interpreter. The project encompasses three separate pieces of work, including: information about 16 common conditions placed on Court Orders and Parole Orders plus picture icons and wallet cards; 2 eStories to be displayed on an iPad (Court Orders and Parole Orders); and 12 factsheets that provide information about: the conditions of parole; the obligations of parolees while being supervised by Community Corrections; and the role of Probation and Parole Officers.
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