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KUKA - Lisa Michelle - 31/01/2017

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002

Lisa Michelle KUKA

Hearing: 31 January 2017 at Arohata Prison via AVL to [Withheld]

Members of the Board:

  • Ms S Pakura – Panel Convenor
  • Ms M Coleman
  • Mr L Tawera

DECISION OF THE BOARD

1. Lisa Michelle Kuka, 43, appears today for further consideration of parole.  Ms Kuka is serving a sentence of nine years’ imprisonment for manslaughter.

2. Ms Kuka released on parole on 22 September 2014.  She was recalled back to prison to serve the rest of her sentence on 22 August 2016.

3. Ms Kuka was sentenced on 4 February 2009.  As noted in earlier decisions, Ms Kuka is one of several people convicted in relation to the death of an infant.  Ms Kuka was the infant’s mother.

4. Ms Kuka’s prison security classification is low.  The sentence expiry date is
16 October 2017.  The RoC*RoI is 0.35457.

5. Since the recall back to prison Ms Kuka has been employed on the internal grounds.  She began this employment in September 2016.  She made an application for external grounds for which she was successful.  However, that work has stopped due to the supervisor no longer being available.  Currently, Ms Kuka is employed as a wing cleaner.

6. Regarding Ms Kuka’s behaviour and attitude in the wing, the Prison Officer advised the Board that in the last few weeks Ms Kuka’s behaviour has deteriorated.  She has  not been responding to authority positively, she has been stubborn ‘ it is her way or the highway’.  The prison staff have been disappointed in the way Ms Kuka has chosen to behave.

7. In response, Ms Kuka states she has been anxious and stressed particularly with her Board date looming.  She accepts her behaviour has not been acceptable.

8. Ms Kuka has been assessed as being a medium risk of offending.  The offender related factors are assessed as an unbalanced lifestyle, substance abuse and lack of problem solving skills.  Intimate relationships have been identified as a very high risk factor for Ms Kuka.  Therefore, any relationship of this nature needs to be monitored carefully by
Community Probation.

9. All rehabilitative programmes were completed prior to Ms Kuka’s release in 2014.  No further treatment programmes have been scheduled for Ms Kuka to attend.  At the last parole hearing Ms Kuka was directed to undertake a whānau hui.  The whānau hui took place early in January 2017.  [Withheld].  [Withheld] could not attend.

10. The release proposal is unusual, in that two addresses have been identified for
Ms Kuka.  Ms Kuka will be living with [Withheld].  This plan has been put together with a view the whānau  share the responsibility for supporting Ms Kuka and that whānau members are able to have younger whānau who are under 16 stay at their residence when Ms Kuka is not there.

11. Ms Kuka has solid support from her whānau.  Community Probation have engaged with the family and carefully explained their obligations and responsibilities.  The whānau demonstrated a good understanding of keeping themselves and other members safe.  Ms Kuka is clear that she has a responsibility to inform other extended family members of her conditions. She understands that compliance is primarily her responsibility.

12. The Board’s task is to assess risk.   We cannot release an offender on parole unless we are satisfied that they do not pose undue risk to the safety of the community following release and during the remainder of their sentence.  Ms Kuka has a solid release plan and has the support of her whānau.  She understands her high risks situations and she has strategies to address these should high risk situations arise.

13. Having considered all of the circumstances, we believe that Ms Kuka has reached the point where she can be released on parole.  Taking into account the provisions of section 7 and 28 of the Parole Act, 2002, we consider with full compliance and with all of the standard and special conditions that Ms Kuka would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community in the time she has left on her sentence.

14. The standard conditions of parole set out in section 14 of the Parole Act, 2002 and the following special conditions will apply until six months passed her sentence expiry date.

15. For Ms Kuka’s benefit to aid her in her reintegration, we are adding a condition prohibiting media and social media contact and interaction.

16. In accordance with section 29B(2)(a) we are asking for the Department of Corrections  to provide in July 2017 a progress report on Ms Kuka’s compliance and attitude with conditions.

17. The Board will consider that report on its request.  If the Board has doubt over the level of compliance it may well require Ms Kuka to attend a hearing for which one of the special conditions will provide.  All of the conditions can be reviewed as part of the monitoring process.

18. Accordingly, Ms Kuka will be released on  [Withheld]  March 2017.  She will be subject to the special conditions set out in section 14 and the following standard conditions;

(1) Undertake and complete an appropriate treatment/counselling/programme to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer and treatment provider. The details of the counselling or treatment to be determined by your Probation Officer.
(2) To reside at  [Withheld] and [Withheld] and not to move from that address without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.  The movement between addresses will be agreed and managed by the Probation officer.
(3) For the first three months of release you are not to be away from your approved address between the hours of 9:00pm and 6:00am without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(4) To notify your Probation Officer prior to starting, terminating or changing your position or place of employment. You are not to work more than 6 days a week.
(5) To notify your Probation Officer prior to entering an intimate relationship.
(6) Not to possess or consume alcohol or drugs or any medication that is not prescribed to you.
(7) You are prohibited from initiating any media contact by way of television, radio, print media and social media including twitter, Facebook, blogs or contribution to any web sites by posting anything else you are required to decline by "no comment' any request from media whatsoever for an interview or for any information about yourself, your offending, imprisonment or rehabilitation. You are required to discourage any friends and family from contact either on your behalf or their behalf.
(8) You are not to associate or otherwise have contact with any person 16 years of age or younger without the prior approval of your Probation officer.
(9) Not to communicate or associate with  [Withheld], unless you have the prior written consent of your Probation Officer.
(10) The Board has called for a report from the Department of Corrections to be provided in July 2017. You are required to comply with any direction made under section 29B(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002. If you are directed you must attend a hearing as notified to you in writing for the purpose of Parole Board monitoring of compliance with your release conditions.

Ms S Pakura
Panel Convenor