Applying for parole

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 parole application process encourages 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.

Before determining whether to grant parole for a restricted prisoner, the Board must consider whether to make a declaration that prohibits the restricted prisoner from being granted parole for between five and 10 years.

Be prepared

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 can apply for parole up to 12 months prior to their earliest 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 not to apply for parole. If they do not apply, the 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 not to apply, they may change their mind and apply at any time before their sentence ends. 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 Board.

Next steps

On receipt of a valid parole application, the Board will consider if the application should proceed to the preparation of a Parole Suitability Assessment. 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 or deny parole.

If the Board determines to progress the parole application, it will request a Parole Suitability Assessment which is prepared by Community Correctional Services (CCS). This is a comprehensive report that contains relevant information for the Board to make its decision. Upon receipt of the Parole Suitability Assessment, the Board will schedule a hearing 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 submitted. 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. 

Parole denied and reapplying for parole

If the Board denies parole, a prisoner can immediately reapply for parole (unless the prisoner was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period and the Board specified a no-return period).

When a prisoner reapplies for parole, the Board will consider the reasons why their parole was previously denied in light of any new information that substantially reduces the prisoner’s risk to the community.

Following its consideration, the Board will either direct the new parole application be progressed or deny the application.

In some circumstances, such as where there has been no reduction in risk to the community and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, the Board may also direct that the prisoner is not permitted to reapply for a period of time.

Prisoners whose parole was cancelled can apply for re-parole. For more information, see re-parole.

No-return period

If the Board denies parole to a prisoner who was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period, the Board must specify a no-return period of up to five years that the prisoner is not eligible for parole. The Board may consider granting parole during the no-return period only if the Board is satisfied that the prisoner is in imminent danger of dying or seriously incapacitated and no longer physically able to harm any person and does not pose any risk to the community. In determining the length of time for a no-return period, the Board’s paramount consideration is the safety and protection of the community.