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Offenders to lose parole hearings

Wednesday 26 Sep 2012 3:03 p.m.

Offenders who fail to acknowledge their guilt or make an effort at rehabilitation will have their parole hearings axed under new legislation.

Justice Minister Judith Collins has introduced a bill to Parliament that would cut 800 "unnecessary" parole hearings each year, where the offender has little prospect of release.

"For offenders who refuse to acknowledge their offending and have made little or no effort at rehabilitation, it makes no sense to hold parole hearings," she said.

Ms Collins says those hearings cause needless stress to victims of crime who have to "relive their ordeal year after year".

"We just don't think it is right to continue to cause harm and upset for no reason, so we're taking action to fix it," Ms Collins said.

Under the current Parole Act, the Parole Board is required to consider every offender who is eligible for parole at least once every 12 months.

On average, each offender has three hearings before they are approved for release, while a third of all offenders have four or more hearings.

The bill to amend the act would increase the maximum time between parole hearings from 12 months to two years, and for offenders serving indeterminate sentences or sentences of 10 or more years, the maximum time between parole hearings increases from three to five years.

The Parole Board holds more than 6000 parole hearings each year.

NZN

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