Prisoners are not automatically considered for parole by the Board. Eligible prisoners who wish to be considered for parole must apply.
Eligible prisoners are prisoners who have been sentenced by the court to a non-parole period. For more information, see sentencing and parole.
The requirement to apply for parole was introduced in March 2015 in accordance with a recommendation of the Callinan Review, which recommended that prisoners should only be considered for parole if they apply for it, in order to encourage prisoners to take responsibility for their parole and not to assume that they are simply entitled to be released.
The application process is not onerous. Prisoners who wish to apply for parole will be given the information they need and supported by Corrections Victoria staff at the prison they are in.
While in prison, prisoners should take all reasonable steps – including avoiding acting violently or aggressively, participating in assessments, completing relevant educational or treatment programs, and not using illicit drugs – to prepare their case for when they apply for parole.
The Board’s paramount consideration is always the safety and protection of the community. It takes these factors into consideration when it determines if a prisoner will be granted parole.
For more information, see getting ready to apply for parole.
When can prisoners apply
Eligible prisoners who are serving a sentence of less than ten years with a non-parole period can apply for parole up to 12 months prior to their earliest eligibility date.
Eligible prisoners who are serving a sentence of more than 10 years with a non-parole period can apply for parole up to three years prior to their earlier eligibility date.
Prisoners cannot be released on parole until or after their earliest eligibility date.
For information about when prisoners who have been returned to prison following a cancellation may apply to be released on parole again, see re-parole
Do prisoners have to apply?
Prisoners may choose to not apply for parole. If they do not apply, the Adult Parole Board will not consider them for release on parole. This means they will serve their full sentence in prison.
The vast majority of eligible prisoners apply for parole. However, a small number choose not to apply.
If a prisoner chooses to not apply, they may change their mind and apply at any time prior to the end of their sentence. If an application is submitted too close to the end of the sentence, there may not be sufficient time for it to be determined or for an effective parole period.
How to apply
Eligible prisoners are provided with information about the process and are supported by Corrections Victoria staff at the prison, including their case manager, Assessment Transition Coordinator, and the Case Management Review Committee.
Prisoners who apply for parole must complete a Parole Application form. This is a simple, one page form. Prisoners applying for re-parole following a cancellation must complete a Parole Application after Cancellation form. Again, this is a simple, short form.
The prisoner’s case manager will give the prisoner the form to complete. The prison’s Case Management Review Committee will then schedule a time to meet with the prisoner to discuss their application. After the meeting, the Case Management Review Committee will prepare a report to accompany the prisoner’s Parole Application when it is submitted to the Adult Parole Board.
On receipt of a valid Parole Application, the Board will consider if the application should proceed to the parole planning stage. This does not mean that the prisoner will be granted parole. Rather, it means that the Board requests substantive reports to assist it to decide whether to grant, deny or defer parole.
If the Board determines to progress a Parole Application to the parole planning stage, it will request a Parole Suitability Assessment which is prepared by Community Correctional Services (CCS). This is a comprehensive report that normally contains all relevant information the Board needs to make a decision. Upon receipt of the Parole Suitability Assessment, the Board will schedule a meeting to determine if the prisoner will be granted parole.
The Board does not control how long it takes for the Parole Suitability Assessment to be compiled by CCS and lodged. Depending on the enquiries that need to be undertaken to gather relevant information, it is possible that the Parole Suitability Assessment will not be submitted before the prisoner’s earliest eligible date for parole. While the Board tries to determine parole applications before the earliest eligible date if possible, the Board will not make a decision unless and until it has all relevant information available to it, as it must have community safety and protection as its paramount consideration.
If the Board decides to defer a prisoner’s application until a later time (e.g. due to poor behaviour in prison), the prisoner will be notified in writing and will need to re-apply for parole after the specified deferral date.