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 18 PAROLE BOARD OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY | ANNUAL REPORT 2014 PAROLE BOARD OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY | ANNUAL REPORT 2014 19 Extradition Extradition involves the return of an offender from another jurisdiction, this may happen in number of instances, including: when a parolee has left the Northern Territory without permission; when a parolee on authorised travel has: failed to comply with parole conditions whilst interstate; or committed further offences. The Board may consider extradition of the parolee to the Northern Territory so the outstanding balance of their sentence of imprisonment can be served. Each case is considered on its merits. Victims of Crime The Board is very cognisant of the rights of victims of crime as contained within the Northern Territory Charter for Victims of Crime and ensures the guiding principles are incorporated into practice and procedure. Under the Charter the victim may apply in writing to the Secretary of the Board requesting: a direction be given to a prisoner not to approach them whilst on parole; and for advice about the outcome of any parole proceedings concerning the prisoner. Parole officers liaise with the Crime Victims Services Unit and Witness Assistance Service and the general community to ensure victims concerns are taken into consideration throughout the parole process and that the victim is kept informed of any developments. Victim issues and concerns are frequently identified in reports prepared for the Boards consideration and may result in special conditions being added to a parole order to ensure the safety of the victim. Additionally, where a matter has a registered victim, the Secretary of the Board provides timely written updates to the Director of the Crime Victims Services Unit as stipulated by the Victims of Crime Rights and Services Act. In 2014, one victim attended a Board meeting and provided a verbal submission in relation to a parole application. Supporting Indigenous Offenders The Department of Correctional Services has entered into formal arrangements with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) to operate Prisoner Support Officers programs. Under these arrangements the following occurs when a prisoner is a client of NAAJA: The Secretary of the Board provides the relevant Prisoner Support Officer with a copy of the letter they send to a prisoner, informing the prisoner of the decision of the Board about whether the prisoner has been granted parole or not. This means the Prisoner Support Officer can go through the letter with the prisoner and also obtain further information from the Secretary if necessary. Where the Board makes a decision about the parole of a prisoner contrary to the recommendation contained in the report of the parole officer, a meeting may be held with the parole officer, the Prisoner Support Officer and the prisoner to discuss the Boards reasons for decision. NAAJA has been advised that if the prisoner wishes to make an application to be present at the meeting of the Board which considers his or her application for parole, then this can be done by the Prisoner Support Officer and any such application will be considered on its merits. Further, NAAJA and the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) have been advised the Board will consider any written submissions that are made on behalf of a prisoner about parole. Similar arrangements were entered into by the Department of Correctional Services with CAALAS. However, there has been a reduction in the funding provided to CAALAS by the Australian Government. This has meant that CAALAS can no longer provide the prisoner support service it provided in the past. This is most unfortunate. Aboriginal prisoners comprise about 86 percent of prisoners in the Northern Territory, many of whom come from remote communities in Central Australia. The service, care and assistance provided by Mr Thomas Quayle and others to Aboriginal parolees in Central Australia, was invaluable and there appeared to be a reduction in the rate of recidivism of those offenders who were provided with assistance by CAALAS.
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