Overturning refusal of parole address

Peter* is an Aboriginal man in his late 20s who is serving a sentence for robbery offences. He has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability and has limited literacy. He is in a long-term relationship with his partner and they have 3 children together, including one child with significant health conditions. In 2020, a police application DVO was placed on Peter naming his partner as the aggrieved following a verbal argument, stating only the mandatory condition that he be of good behaviour. In 2023, his partner successfully applied to vary the expiry date of the DVO so that it ended immediately.

On the day of his release, Peter’s parole order was suspended because his parole officer considered he presented as elevated and aggressive towards staff at the Community Corrections office. Peter was stressed on the day- he had just been released from prison and his partner was waiting outside in the car with the children. Peter was returned to prison that day and invited to make written submissions in response to the suspension decision and asked to lodge a parole address for review.

Peter made submissions and lodged the address of his family home for consideration. Four months later, the Parole Board decided to lift the suspension but found his proposed address was unsuitable because of “confidential information that is not in the public interest to disclose”. Peter had been attempting to source suitable accommodation, submitting more than ten addresses, each deemed not suitable by the Board with no reasons provided. Peter’s partner contacted PLS seeking assistance to allow him to live at their family home. Peter and his partner had both made submissions to the Parole Board about why this was the best for him, however the Board maintained their decision.

PLS made submissions to the Board to support Peter’s release to his family home, stating it was the most supportive environment for Peter’s release and the decision to not approve it breached both his and his family’s human rights, and did not consider Peter’s familial support system, intellectual disability, or employment commitments. The Board also appeared to show significant concern for the expired DVO.

PLS raised various human rights issues, including his right to liberty and the rights of him and his family as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Peter was granted parole and is now home with his family. His partner burst into tears of happiness when we told her he could come home and contacted PLS after his release to thank us for the assistance.