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KAPA - James Joseph - 17/10/2016

Parole Hearing
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002

James Joseph KAPA

Hearing: 17 October  2016 At [Withheld] by AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Head Office, Wellington

Members of the Board:

  • Ms K Snook (Panel Convenor)
  • Ms M Coleman
  • Mr A Hackney

Counsel:

  • [Withheld]

Supporters:

  • [Withheld]
  • [Withheld]
  • [Withheld]  

DECISION OF THE BOARD

1. James Joseph Kapa, 47, appeared for a further consideration of parole on a sentence of 13 years three months’ imprisonment for burglary, accessing a computer for dishonest purposes and money laundering.

2. Mr Kapa has a minimum prison security classification, a RoC*RoI of 0.48132, and a sentence expiry date of 8 January 2022.

3. Mr Kapa saw the Board last on 19 October 2015.  That Board noted his successful completion of MIRP in 2013.  The Board supported further reintegrative activities for Mr Kapa and further work on his release proposal.  That Board noted that Mr Kapa needed to be able to demonstrate “more profoundly” his capacity to apply the skills he has learnt in prison.

4. Mr Kapa was represented today by [Withheld].  Mr Kapa had three members of his support network with him.  This includes [Withheld] who will be providing accommodation.

5. The reports before the Board note Mr Kapa’s excellent behaviour and compliance, as well as his very good work ethic.  He is residing in the Self Care residences and continues to work well in the laundry.  He is the overseer for the work that the prison does for the [Withheld].

6. [Withheld] noted that one of the key matters that the Board focused on last time was reintegration and hopefully Release to Work.

7. [Withheld] confirmed what the Board understood from the parole assessment report that Mr Kapa is not currently eligible for Release to Work because he is a high-profile offender [Withheld].

8. In terms of other testing of the skills that Mr Kapa has learnt in prison, home leaves are also not available yet at this prison.  Policy on this is being developed.

9. [Withheld]’s submission was that there was nothing further that Mr Kapa can do in prison, given that that is the case.

10. In terms of the other matter that the last Board wanted Mr Kapa to work on, [Withheld] submitted that he has developed a pro-social support network.  [Withheld] pointed to the three members of the support term who were present at the hearing today.  One of those is [Withheld] who is providing accommodation.  He is an ex-prison officer and he has known Mr Kapa for 20 years.

11. We note that the psychological assessment dated 4 September 2015 considers that one of the key drivers for Mr Kapa’s offending is the thrill of the challenge and evading detection.  Mr Kapa is more likely to re-offend in the context of financial difficulty when he wishes to provide goods for his family and get intellectual stimulation and challenge from the commission of the offending. It is recommended that Mr Kapa develop work or hobbies that provide him with intellectual challenge and excitement.

12. At the moment Mr Kapa does not have any firm or realistic plans about his employment, or indeed where he would prefer to work.  While Mr Kapa talked about returning to use his electrical engineering skills, he also talked about pursuing a study of the law.  In the parole assessment report there was a reference to Mr Kapa having a plan to set up a computing business.  Mr Kapa now understands that this is unlikely to be approved by the Community Probation Service given the way in which he offended using computers in the past.

13. Without a firmer release proposal which contains a concrete and realistic proposal about how Mr Kapa will earn a living in the community, we remain concerned about Mr Kapa’s risk of reoffending given the length of time remaining on his sentence.

14. The psychologist notes that the ability for Mr Kapa to manage his risk of reoffending would likely improve if Mr Kapa was engaged in employment or hobbies which gave him a stable income and a sense of power, competence and challenge.

15. At the time of the psychological assessment in September 2015 Mr Kapa was assessed as not having sufficient plans to fulfil this need. We are of the view that this remains the case today.

16. While we commend Mr Kapa for the positive aspects of the way in which he has served his sentence, we have reached the view today that he remains an undue risk to the safety of the community given his underdeveloped release plan, and the length of time remaining on his sentence.

17. Parole today is declined.  We will see Mr Kapa again in October 2017 and no later than the end of that month.

18. In the period between now and the next hearing we support Mr Kapa obtaining other employment related skills if these can be made available to him.

19. Further thought may also need to be given to whether Mr Kapa needs some additional one-to-one psychological work to back up what he learnt on the MIRP. We note that he completed this course in 2013 and by the time he sees the Board again four years will have elapsed since his completion of that course.

20. We also note that although Mr Kapa has had a reasonable period of time to develop a realistic and robust release proposal, including potential employment, he has not done so.  It may be that he needs the assistance of a psychologist to develop such a plan.

21. We remain concerned that Mr Kapa is not being offered Release to Work on the ground that his offending was high profile.  We continue to support him being offered reintegrative activities, including Release to Work opportunities, while noting, as did the last Board, that we cannot direct reintegrative activities.

Ms K Snook
Panel Convenor