Makayla HAMMERSLEY - 01/02/2019
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 1 February 2019
at Auckland Regional Women’s Corrections Facility
via Video Conference to Arohata Prison
Members of the Board:
- Mr N Trendle (Panel Convenor)
- Mr A Hackney
- Ms M More
- Mr Leith
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Makayla Hammersley, who is 17 years of age, is serving a sentence of five years’ imprisonment for aggravated robbery, kidnapping, assault with intent to rob and other offending. She was released on parole to [withheld] on 19 March 2018, but she was the subject of a final recall order on 26 September 2018 after she was discharged from the programme. This is her first appearance before the Board since she was recalled to prison.
- The Board has a full psychological assessment dated 23 January 2019. That helpfully outlines much of the history and progress that has occurred since Ms Hammersley’s recall. The report refers to treatment Ms Hammersley has undertaken and the relationship with [withheld] as Ms Hammersley is very keen to be released to the address with [withheld]. The comment is made in the report that Ms Hammersley responds best to a structured environment.
- The parole assessment report records that the proposed address has not been assessed as suitable by Community Corrections; essentially, it would appear, because of the history of family violence incidents between Ms Hammersley and [withheld].
- Ms Hammersley was represented by her counsel, Mr Leith, who made submissions in support of her release on parole. The essence of counsel’s submissions was that the Board should not place weight on the reasoning behind Community Corrections’ assessment that the address was not suitable. He emphasised that [withheld] was endeavouring to manage a situation where [withheld]. Ms Hammersley had responded negatively to the attempts by [withheld]. Counsel’s submission was that, indeed, [withheld] offered prosocial and sound guidance but the circumstances at the time did not bear fruit because of Ms Hammersley’s health and drug abuse. Counsel submitted that the circumstances had changed, she had largely completed the [withheld] Programme, she is highly motivated to make a successful return to [withheld].
- For her part, Ms Hammersley expressed the wish to return to [withheld]. Despite a comment in the report that the psychologist was feeling that limited progress was made in the course of treatment, Ms Hammersley herself welcomed the intervention as it enabled her to open up and discuss issues with someone else.
- Owing to her age, Ms Hammersley has not associated with adult prisoners. She will shortly turn 18 and her conditions in prison will change. The Board notes that in a report prepared for the recall hearing that [withheld] address was assessed as suitable. The Board itself, having seen Ms Hammersley, is satisfied that she is highly motivated to make a success of her return to the community, surrounded with the very limited support she has. She told us that she has cut all ties with her former antisocial peers and she has no other friends. She explained that she has been writing to males in prison whom she knows, essentially, as was our impression, as she needs someone to communicate with.
- The Board is of the firm view that the way forward is to develop a release proposal around [withheld]. Accordingly, we invite Community Corrections [withheld] to develop a structured release plan to facilitate her return to the community. That exercise may best be facilitated with Ms Hammersley’s transfer to [withheld] but that is a matter for the prison authorities. It may be that [withheld] can contribute to the development of that plan.
- Despite the submissions made on Ms Hammersley’s behalf by Mr Leith, the Board is not satisfied that her release to the community without the structured plan we have spoken of would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community. Parole is accordingly declined. Ms Hammersley will be scheduled to return to the Board in two months, in the first week of April. For that hearing, the Board would be assisted by the fully-developed plan we have referred to. We also request a copy of the family violence reports referred to by Community Corrections.
- Finally, we support the facilitation of a reintegration meeting between Ms Hammersley, [withheld], Probation Officer and any other supports prior to the next hearing.
Mr N Trendle