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MILLER - Lex John - 11/02/2016

 

Parole hearing

Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002

 

Lex John MILLER


Hearing: 11 February 2016 at (withheld) Prison

Members of the Board: 
      Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor 
      Dr S Davis
      Dr P Taylor

Support Person: (withheld)


DECISION OF THE BOARD


1. Lex John Miller is making a further appearance before the Board on an effective sentence of eight years four months’ imprisonment for attempted murder, kidnapping, burglary, unlawful taking and escaping from custody.  His initial sentence of seven years eight months’ imprisonment was added to cumulatively after an escape from prison. He is in the last 5 months of his sentence.

2. When Mr Miller last appeared before the Board he was assessed as remaining an undue risk to the safety of the community as the Board was not satisfied he had addressed offending issues and had the internal coping strategies to manage risk.  A psychological assessment was sought. 

3. The Board has that assessment dated 14 December 2015.  It records that Mr Miller declined to meet with the psychologist as he saw no benefit in doing so.  The psychologist noted issues with anxiety.  When it came to an assessment of the risk, the psychologist assessed him as being at low risk of re-offending, based on the information available.

4. Mr Miller initially indicated he did not wish to attend today’s hearing.  It appears he changed his mind after a discussion with his Case Manager.  He was supported, as he has been before, by (withheld) 

5. Mr Miller was on Release to Work but that activity was determined late last year.  He has since been transferred to the (withheld).  The circumstances behind these decisions are not clear to the Board, but we note he has retained his minimum security status.

6. As it has been before, the Board has paid particular regard to victim-related issues.  We discussed obvious safety concerns with Mr Miller in the course of the hearing.  He held a strong sense of grievance and vengeance at the time of his offending and, later, when he escaped from prison.  This issue was discussed with Mr Miller and (withheld).  Mr Miller conceded that his offending and thinking, when he came to prison, could be appropriately described as revengeful.  The work he has done to date and the time spent in prison has to some extent ameliorated that thinking.  In response to direct questions from panel members Mr Miller was quite clear: he has no intention of contacting (withheld), the victim of his offending, or (withheld).  Insofar as (withheld) are concerned (withheld) we understand, no longer subject to a protection order.  He told us he does not propose contacting them but if they wish to contact him he is comfortable with that. 

7. Mr Miller was adamant that he will comply with any release conditions relating to contact with his victim and that he not enter the Bay of Plenty region without the approval of his Probation Officer.  He accepted that he would be the subject of electronic monitoring.  He says he is used to that as it was a condition of Release to Work, though the bracelet was uncomfortable. 

8. The Board remains of the view that there is doubt that Mr Miller has effectively addressed the issues behind his offending.  We could not be satisfied that if left solely to his own coping strategies that he would meet the statutory test for release on parole, notwithstanding his commitment not to contact his victim.  We have, however, taken account of four additional factors.  First, the influence of his supporter with whom, it appears, there is an open and positive relationship; secondly Mr Miller’s progress in reflecting on and coming to terms with the background to his offending; thirdly the availability of electronic monitoring and release conditions to meet the Board’s concern with respect to contact with his victim; and finally, that no further treatment (particularly with respect to a family violence programme) or reintegration gains to assist in preparing him for his return to the community are likely in the custodial setting over the next few months.

9. We also add that we have taken into account the relatively short time remaining on his sentence, an approved address and employment, and the benefit to be gained by the supervision available through his Probation Officer in the context of parole (as opposed to release) conditions.

10. We have, on balance, reached the view that for the time remaining on his sentence, Mr Miller reaches the statutory threshold for release and that his residual risk can be managed by way of tailored parole conditions. 

11. Accordingly we direct Mr Miller’s release from prison on 2 March 2016.  Thereafter he will be subject to standard conditions and the special conditions set out below for a period expiring six months after his statutory release date. 

12. The special conditions are in place to assist with the ongoing management of Mr Miller’s rehabilitation and reintegration needs.  We note the availability of psychological counselling and commended that to Mr Miller to assist with issues that may arise on his return to the community.  As indicated, the Board is satisfied that victim concerns can be met by an enlarged geographic exclusion area which will be monitored by way of GPS, electronic monitoring. 

13. Finally, the Board has imposed a condition requiring Mr Miller to attend for a monitoring hearing in July 2016.  We impose that condition having regard to the seriousness of Mr Miller’s offending, the limited rehabilitation activity that he has completed whilst he is subject to this sentence and the need for him to complete a family violence programme in the community, and to ensure that parole conditions with respect to the safety of his victim are adequate and strictly observed. 

14. Mr Miller will be required to attend the monitoring hearing at the time and place to be advised in June.  Prior to that hearing the Board requests a report from his supervising Probation Officer with respect to his compliance and generally with respect to his progress on parole. 

15. Release accordingly; special conditions as follows:
   (1) Undertake and complete a domestic violence programme and abide by the rules of the programme to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and the programme provider.
   (2) Undertake and complete appropriate treatment or counselling to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer. The details of the counselling or treatment to be determined by your Probation Officer.
   (3) If directed, attend for a psychological assessment then attend and complete any treatment or counselling as recommended by the assessment to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer.
   (4) To reside at (withheld), or at an address approved by your Probation Officer, and not move from that address without the prior approval of your Probation Officer.
   (5) To notify your Probation Officer prior to starting, terminating or changing your position or place of employment.
   (6) Not to have contact or otherwise associate with the victim of your offending, directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior consent of your Probation Officer.
   (7) Not to enter the Bay of Plenty area, as defined by the regional local authority boundary, without the prior approval of your Probation Officer.
   (8) To comply with the requirements of electronic monitoring, and provide access to the approved residence to the Probation Officer and representatives of the monitoring company, for the purpose of maintaining the electronic monitoring equipment as directed by the Probation Officer.
   (9) To submit to electronic monitoring in the form of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology as directed by a Probation Officer in order to monitor your compliance with the condition relating to your whereabouts and, when issued a mobile cell phone device by the Department, to carry and keep it charged and turned on at all times and to answer it for the purpose of communications with the Probation Officer.
   (10) To attend a hearing in June 2016, at a time and place to be advised, for the purpose of the Parole Board monitoring your compliance with your release conditions.

 


Mr N Trendle
Panel Convenor