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TAYLOR - Luana Roberta - 06/09/2018

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Luana Roberta TAYLOR

Hearing: 6 September 2018

at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility

via AVL from Arohata Prison

Members of the Board:

  • Ms T Williams Blyth (Panel Convenor)
  • Sir Ron Young (Chairperson)
  • Ms S Driver
  • Mr D Hauraki

Support Persons:

  • [withheld]
  • [withheld]

DECISION OF THE BOARD

  1. Luana Taylor (58) appears for consideration of parole.  She is serving a six year three month sentence for failing to protect a vulnerable adult.
  2. Mrs Taylor, along with her husband and Ms Taylor (biological daughter of the victim), lived in the same property as the victim, Ms Dung.  Ms Taylor was responsible for the care of her mother who ultimately died of dehydration and malnutrition.
  3. The evidence showed that before her death, Ms Dung suffered 14 fractures to her ribs and sternum, which interfered with her breathing, needed significant assistance, was completely dependent, had urinated and defecated in her bed (she was placed on a green plastic sheet), suffered chemical burns from contact with her own urine and faeces, developed broncho-pneumonia, had stopped eating and drinking, and weighed only 29 kilos when she died.
  4. Between Mr and Mrs Taylor, Mrs Taylor was considered more culpable as she was the controlling influence in the house and she attempted to conceal the offending in the phone call to Healthline.
  5. When interviewed for the pre-sentence report, Mrs Taylor denied responsibility for the offending and demonstrated that she had little remorse, victim empathy or insight into her criminal conduct.  Contrary to Dr Sakdalan’s report at trial, that Mrs Taylor had recently developed a sense (because the victim lived with her) of responsibility to protect the victim from harm, the parole assessment report advises that Mrs Taylor purports to have held no knowledge at all of the victim’s situation which resulted in her death.
  6. Within the prison setting Mrs Taylor has a ROC*ROI of .20289, a prison security classification of minimum and a statutory release date of 4 November 2022.  There is approximately four years two months remaining on her sentence.
  7. The sentence plan is for completion of the Short Rehabilitation Programme (SRP).  Mrs Taylor is said to be motivated to complete the same.  That was clarified with Mrs Taylor today who said that, “Being in prison has been an eye opener.  Besides the offence itself, prison makes you think of what is right and what is wrong”.  She is prepared to do the Short Rehabilitation Programme (SRP) but says she will need help because of her health issues and her wheelchair.  Mrs Taylor suggested that she would do the programme more comfortably in the community.
  8. During discussions it was difficult to confirm whether or not Mrs Taylor was remorseful.  She says she did not know what was going on.  She was really sick, in pain, stuck to the couch and having a hard time dealing with life itself.  With regard to the smells that would have been present in the home, she said that the house was divided and that the girl always cleaned with bleach.
  9. She says that people handle things differently and every day she lives with remorse.  Being mostly by herself all the time at the house, she could not help but hear arguments on occasion.  She was told to mind her own business.  It is her view that she should have asked them to leave but Ms Taylor kept begging to stay.
  10. With regard to her previous convictions, Mrs Taylor painted a picture of health authorities not listening to her so she had no choice to achieve her ends by offending.
  11. The information before the Board and the discussion leaves the Board with the view that Mrs Taylor must complete offence-focussed treatment.  As matters currently stand, she has been sentence planned for the SRP.  It is important that she at least make a start on her rehabilitation pathway by completing that.
  12. The Principal Corrections Officer (PCO) advises that there have been no major issues in the prison setting, although Mrs Taylor does get very bored and does not have anything to do because she is unable to get around.
  13. As matters currently stand, the Board is of the view that Mrs Taylor remains an undue risk and parole is declined.  Mrs Taylor will be seen for further consideration of parole in September 2019 and no later than 30 September 2019.
  14. For the next hearing the Board requests:

    (1) A report from the short rehabilitation programme confirming Mrs Taylor’s attendance and progress.

    (2) A medical report providing independent confirmation of Mrs Taylor’s medical diagnosis, the treatment and Mrs Taylor’s ability to engage in treatment.

    (3) A psychological report, after completion of rehabilitation addressing Mrs Taylor’s risk, any outstanding treatment needs and assessment of a release proposal.

Ms T Williams Blyth
Panel Convenor