This page contains parole data and statistics from 2015-16 which were published in the annual report. Parole data and statistics from 2016-17 will be published to this website in October 2017.
The requirement for prisoners to apply for parole commenced on 1 March 2015, and this new process was in full effect during 2015–16. Eligible prisoners are given information about the process and are supported by case managers and the Case Management Review Committee in each prison prior to their earliest eligibility date.
In 2015–16, the Board received 1,841 applications for parole (including re-parole applications). The Board was informed by Corrections Victoria of 142 prisoners who were eligible to apply for parole but decided not to do so.
Of the applications received by the Board:
- 84.2 per cent proceeded to the preparation of a full Parole (or Re-parole) Suitability Assessment report to the Board by Community Correctional Services. This does not mean that the prisoner will be granted parole; the Board requests substantive reports that will assist in its decision whether to grant, deny or defer the prisoner’s parole.
- 5.6 per cent were invalid (for example, because the prisoner was not eligible for parole).
- 5.0 per cent were deferred (for example, because the prisoner had additional charges that were yet to be finalised in court).
- 2.2 per cent were denied at the application stage. Typically, these were applications for re-parole and were denied in circumstances where the prisoner had performed very poorly on their previous parole causing it to be cancelled and had little time remaining on their sentence.
- 2.9 per cent had not been processed as at 30 June 2016.
The Board decides to grant or deny parole
In 2015-16, 1,002 decisions to grant or deny parole were made in respect to applications for parole (some of these applications had been lodged in 2014-15). Approximately two-thirds (675) of prisoners were granted parole or re-parole and approximately one-third (327) were denied parole or re-parole.
In total, the Board paroled or re-paroled a total of 883 prisoners and denied parole or re-parole to 622 prisoners in 2015–16. This includes decisions on parole applications, as well as on matters that were in progress under the old system in place before the parole application process.
The reduction in the number of parole decisions from the previous year reflects a decline over the past two years in the number of prisoners being sentenced to a term of imprisonment with a non-parole period.
The number of prisoners with a parole sentence grew from 2011–12 to 2013–14, in line with the increase in Victoria’s prison population. However, changes to sentencing laws in 2013–14 enabled judges to impose a sentence of imprisonment of up to two years in combination with a Community Correction Order, instead of a non-parole period. This has meant that prison sentences of less than two years are now less likely to include a non-parole period. The number of prisoners with a parole sentence has declined by 18.4 per cent over the past three reporting years.
Prisoners on parole
The number of prisoners on parole has declined progressively over the last five reporting years, from 1,763 at 30 June 2012 to 981 at 30 June 2016. This represents a 44.4 per cent decline over the five reporting years. The number of prisoners on parole depends on the number of parole orders granted (which depends on the number of prisoners eligible for parole), the duration of the parole orders, the number of parole orders cancelled, and the length of time between the granting and cancellation of the order. Changes to sentencing laws and practice have led to a decrease in the number of prisoners eligible for parole over the past two years.
During 2015–16, 733 prisoners completed their parole. The reduction in prisoners completing their parole compared with previous years is again reflective of the reduced number of prisoners on parole at 30 June 2016.
Breach and parole detention
During 2015–16 Victoria Police notified the Board about 98 prisoners on parole who were detained for suspected parole breaches. The Board decided to cease detention for 18 of these prisoners. Of the remaining 80 prisoners, the Board decided to cancel 76.3 per cent (61 prisoners on parole). The remaining 23.8 per cent (19 prisoners on parole) were not cancelled. The Board met on the same day it was notified in 60.2 per cent of cases, and within one business day in 39.8 per cent of cases.
During 2015-16, the Board decided to cancel parole for 387 prisoners. The most common reason was drug use (a reason in 64.6 per cent of cancellations), and in particular the use of methylamphetamine (ice), as the use of drugs presents a significant risk of escalation to more serious offending.
If the Board is advised that a prisoner has been charged with further offences, the Board’s risk management obligations mean that it will often cancel parole immediately rather than awaiting the outcome of the charges in court. During 2015-16, the Board cancelled parole in 72 cases (18.6 per cent of all cancellations) due to the prisoner being charged with further offences. In another seven cases, the Board awaited the outcome of the charges before deciding to cancel parole. Not all of their offences were serious.
The reduction in the total number of cancellations compared with previous years reflects the reduced number of prisoners on parole at 30 June 2016. Nearly half (48.0 per cent) of cancellations occurred within the first three months of release from prison, which indicates that the Board is highly responsive to prisoners whose risk to the community is escalating.
The following represents the number of months that prisoners had been on parole when their parole was cancelled. Each year is separated into four lots of 25 per cent to equal the total number of cancelled prisoners for that year. For example, in 2011-12, the 25 per cent of prisoners with the shortest times to cancellation were cancelled within about two months. In 2015-16, the 25 per cent of prisoners with the shortest times to cancellation were cancelled in just over one month. The vertical yellow line indicates the year’s median number of months a prisoner had been on parole, before the parole was cancelled. The final quarters, at the right of the graph, have been shortened because of the effect of a small number of very long paroles in each year (the maximum periods on parole prior to cancellation ranged from 53 months in 2015-16 to 250 months in 2013-14).
Reduction in the number of people convicted of serious violent or sexual offences committed on parole
A measure of the effectiveness of the transformation of the parole system is the reduction in the number of persons convicted of serious violent or sexual offences committed on parole. The objective of parole is to reduce the risk that a prisoner will reoffend while on parole.
It is impossible to measure the number of offences that are avoided because of the support and supervision provided by parole. However, the Board can measure the number of convictions of serious violent and sexual offences committed by prisoners while on parole.
- The Board first reported on this measure in 2013–14, when 60 people were convicted of a total of 97 serious violent or sexual offences committed while on parole (some of the people were convicted of more than one offence).
- In 2014–15, 22 people were convicted of 38 serious offences.
- In 2015–16, the numbers fell even further to 13 people convicted of 17 serious offences committed while on parole. This represents a 78.3 per cent reduction in the number of people and an 82.5 per cent reduction in the number of offences over the three reporting years.
- It is important to be aware of the time lag involved in investigating and prosecuting serious offences. None of the 17 offences recorded as convictions in 2015–16 were committed in that year. Seven of the 13 people who were convicted in 2015–16 had been released on parole prior to 2013, and five of them had committed the serious violent or sexual offence prior to 2014. Therefore, many had been released on parole and committed a serious violent or sexual offence while on parole before the reforms to the parole system, but were not convicted of those offences until 2015–16.