The most important consideration for the Board is community safety. By law, the Board must decide that the offender does not pose an 'undue risk' to the safety of the community before parole can be granted.
In accessing undue risk the Board must consider both the likelihood of further offending and the nature and seriousness of any subsequent offending.
Having decided that the offender no longer poses an undue risk, the Board must release them on parole.
There are cases where the Board's only role is to impose release conditions. When an offender has reached their statutory release date, they are required by law to be released. The Board's only role in these cases is to set the conditions, up to six months beyond the sentence end date.
In all its considerations, the Board must comply with the Parole Act 2002. There are a number of other principles in the Act which the Board must take into account when making it’s decisions:
- That the rights of victims are upheld, and that victims submissions and any restorative justice outcomes are given due weight.
- That offenders must not be detained any longer than is consistent with the safety of the community.
- That offenders must not be subject to release conditions that are more onerous, or last longer, than is consistent with the safety of the community.
- That offenders must be provided with information about decisions that concern them, and be advised how they may participate in decision-making that directly concerns them.
- That decisions must be made on the basis of all the relevant information that is available to the Board.
Functions of the New Zealand Parole Board
- consider and, if appropriate, direct offenders to be released on parole
- consider applications for release on compassionate grounds
- set conditions for offenders who are to be released on parole or on compassionate release,
- set conditions for offenders who must, by law, be released having reached their statutory release date (in these cases the Board's only role is to set conditions)
- monitor compliance by certain offenders with their release conditions
- vary or discharge release conditions
- consider applications to have offenders recalled to prison
- make postponement orders
- make and review non-release orders (under Section 107 of the Parole Act 2002)
- review Board decisions
- consider imposing special conditions for extended supervision orders
- consider variations or discharges of conditions for extended supervision orders.