Applying for parole
Parole is the conditional release of a prisoner after they serve part of their sentence in a prison. While on parole, they are supervised in the community until the end of their sentence.
The ‘non-parole period’ is the time an offender serves in prison before being released or becoming eligible to apply for parole.
How parole works
If you’re released on parole, Queensland Corrective Services will supervise you until the end of your sentence. You must meet conditions, such as:
- not committing an offence
- receiving visits from a Corrective Services Officer and following their directions
- telling Corrective Services within 48 hours if you change address or job
- not leaving Queensland without permission
- attending courses, programs, meetings and counselling
- being tested for drug and alcohol
- not otherwise breaching parole.
If you breach your parole order, your conditions may be changed, or your parole order may be suspended or cancelled and you will be returned to prison.
Types of parole
If a court sentences you to 3 years or less in prison, and doesn’t convict you of a sexual offence or serious violent offence, it must set your parole release date at sentencing.
If a court sentences you to a further prison term during this parole period, your parole will be cancelled and the court will not set a parole release date. The court may give you a new date where you will be become eligible to apply to the parole board for parole.
If a court sentences you to 3 years or more in prison, or convicts you of a sexual offence or serious violent offence, it can set the date that you become eligible to apply for parole.
If a court decides to set the date that you become eligible to apply for parole, the parole board will then decide whether to grant parole.
If the court doesn’t give you a parole eligibility date, you can apply to the parole board after serving half of your sentence, unless you have a life or indefinite sentence, or a ‘serious violent offence declaration’ has been made (see below).
The board will assess your application within 180 days, or 210 days if it needs more information.
You can always apply to the parole board for exceptional circumstances parole on compassionate grounds; for example, if you’re seriously ill.
Serious violent offences
Several offences are considered ‘serious violent offences’, including violent offences and child sexual offences.
If the court convicts you of a serious violent offence, you can’t apply for parole until you’ve served 80 per cent of your sentence or 15 years in prison (whichever is less), unless the court has set a later parole eligibility date.
If you have a life sentence, you must serve 15 years in prison before being eligible to apply for parole. (Although, if have a life sentence for multiple counts of murder or have been previously convicted of murder, you must serve 20 years.)
Once you’re paroled, officers from the Probation and Parole section of Queensland Corrective Services will carry out surveillance to check whether your risk level is appropriate. They will check whether your physical appearance has changed, how you communicate with others, your home stability and relationships.
You must stay in contact with Probation and Parole staff by reporting to an office, or having officers visit your home or workplace.
They can also contact your family or friends to find out how you are behaving, and test you for drugs.