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 10 PAROLE BOARD OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY | ANNUAL REPORT 2014 PAROLE BOARD OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY | ANNUAL REPORT 2014 11 UNDERSTANDING PAROLE The Non-Parole Period The Sentencing Act provides that a sentencing court may fix a non-parole period (NPP) for an offender who is sentenced to a term of imprisonment of at least 12 months. The NPP set by the sentencing court stipulates the minimum time a prisoner must serve in custody before being eligible for release on parole. Contrary to other jurisdictions, a prisoner does not have a right to be released on parole and is not automatically granted parole on the expiry of their NPP. The Parole Board has full authority over the decision of if and when a prisoner is released on parole. The Board may decide a prisoner is not to be granted parole and should serve the whole of their sentence in prison. Parole Process Arrangements for Board Meetings There are several provisions in the Parole Act which govern the Board in making decisions regarding the release to, or revocation of, parole. There are additional requirements regarding the consideration for prisoners serving a term of life imprisonment for the crime of murder. LIFE IMPRISONMENT Meetings held quarterly Quorum requires the Chairperson and seven other members Decisions require a unanimous vote ALL OTHER SENTENCES Meetings held monthly Quorum requires Chairperson and three other members Decisions require a majority vote Matters considered at Board Meetings Parole is a complex administrative process. The Board may hear a number of different types of matters at each meeting. Some of the types of matters considered by the Board are: applications for parole; reports about breaches of parole (revocation reports or advice); notifications that a parolee has completed their parole order; reports providing updates on current parolees and their progress; matters about prisoners declining parole; applications for variations of parole conditions; applications by parolees to travel interstate; and applications by parolees to transfer interstate. Attendance of Prisoners at Board Hearings It is the practice of the Board to decide parole matters on the papers without the prisoner being present. The Board is of the view that the materials received or obtained by the Board provide a fair and comprehensive basis to decide whether a prisoner should or should not be granted parole. The Chairman may require a prisoner to be brought before the Board pursuant to section 3G of the Parole Act. In 2014, one prisoner appeared before the Board. Either the prisoner or their legal representative may write to the Secretary of the Board requesting that the prisoner be required to attend their parole hearing. Applications are determined by the Chairperson after consultation with members of the Board.