ACT Ombudsman Report 5/2020: Parole processes at the Alexander Maconochie Centre

Report: ACT Ombudsman Report 5/2020: Parole Processes at the Alexander Maconochie Centre

Table 53 - Government Response: ACT Ombudsman Report 5/2020: Parole Processes at the Alexander Maconochie Centre

Recommendation No. and Summary

Action

Status

Recommendation 1

ACT Corrective Services (ACTCS) finalise a policy framework that comprehensively covers the ‘sentence management continuum’, including the specifics of the parole process, and how to manage detainees through this process, comprising: 

  • policy documents to contain high level principles and explain how the legislative framework is implemented, and  
  • complementary procedures to provide practical guidance to staff, which should include staff roles, responsibilities and referral points, as well as service standards and quality assurance measures.

Agreed

ACTCS' model for Integrated Offender Management is expected to be completed by December 2021 and implemented in 2022.  The first tranche of the project will focus on the women cohort and will incorporate the Women's Offender Framework Operating Model. The fact sheet for Detainees re: Parole has been developed/endorsed and implemented into current practice.

In progress

Recommendation 2

To ensure this new policy framework remains up to date and used by staff, ACTCS: 

  • develop and deliver a training program to ensure staff apply the new arrangements consistently, and 
  • establish a process through which the framework is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect operational changes

Agreed

ACTCS processes for policy implementation include providing training and timeframes for review. These actions will be taken to support implementation of ACTCS' model for Integrated Offender Management.

In progress

Recommendation 3

ACTCS assess any finalised policy documents for publication, as per open access requirements under the Freedom of Information Act 2016, with information published unless assessed as contrary to the public interest.

Agreed

ACTCS has developed the Open Access Policy 2020 and processes for making decisions about publishing policies.

Complete

Recommendation 4

ACTCS provide comprehensive information to detainees through the ‘sentence management continuum’ about sentence management and parole processes, with information effectively communicated, particularly for detainees with high and complex service needs, or alternative service requirements.

Agreed

A parole information pamphlet for detainees has been developed and is in use.

Complete

Recommendation 5

ACTCS review its records management framework and systems, and adjust them as necessary, to ensure: 

  • information is stored, managed and able to be retrieved by various work units along the ‘sentence management continuum’, and  
  • policies and procedures stipulate record management requirements in appropriate detail.

Agreed

Phase 1 of ACTCS' new offender information management system project is due to be implemented in March 2022. Policies, procedures and training of staff on new system will accompany rollout of the new system.

In progress

Recommendation 6

ACTCS develop and implement a business planning framework that enables it to proactively plan for upcoming phases of the sentence management continuum’.  ACTCS consider the viability of prioritising planned development work and ensure this includes new reporting functionality to facilitate high level management of detainee cohorts through ‘the continuum’, taking into account their earliest release dates.

Agreed

ACTCS' model for Integrated Offender Management will define phases of the sentence management continuum and is on track for completion in December 2021. The first tranche of the project will focus on the women cohort and will incorporate the Women's Offender Framework Operating Model. ACTCS' new offender information management system is expected to improve reporting functionality and is tracking to full implementation by the end of financial year 2021-22. 

In progress

Recommendation 7

The induction policy be amended to require a discussion about parole at the induction stage and be supported by up-to-date written documentation.

Agreed

The Sentence Management Plan (SMP) Operating Procedure and SMP Template are endorsed and implemented. ACTCS' Induction Policy has been amended.

Complete

Recommendation 8

ACTCS put in place quality assurance processes and provide additional training and guidance for Sentence Management Officers (SMOs), to ensure Sentence Management Plans (SMPs) are created in consultation with the detainee, and are consistent, effective and timely.

Agreed

The SMP Operating Procedure, SMP Template, and the Consent to obtain/release information operating procedure have been endorsed and implemented.

Complete

Recommendation 9

ACTCS finalise the draft Sentence Management Policy (SMP) and develop complementary procedures, which include minimum service standards and quality assurance measures, to ensure: 

  • SMP reviews occur in a timely manner, with any delays documented  
  • related action items are well-documented, with case notes clarifying what actions are required, by whom and by when 
  • sentence management meetings have clear objectives to further a detainee’s preparedness for release, with further meetings scheduled if objectives are not reached 
  • handovers of case matters from SMOs to Community Corrections Officers (CCOs) are fully documented, with responsibilities clarified.

Agreed

The SMP Operating Procedure, SMP Template, and the Consent to obtain/release information operating procedure have been endorsed and implemented.  Sentence Management Unit staff have completed training in Case Management Principles and Application and Trauma Awareness Training.

Complete

Recommendation 10

As a priority, ACTCS identify and implement new arrangements to ensure programs are more accessible to detainees, and particularly for those on remand.

Agreed

Short (non-criminogenic) program development is being finalised. The Criminogenic program training has been delayed due to COVID19 pandemic. The draft Clinical Governance Framework is to be distributed for internal consultation.

In progress

Recommendation 11

ACTCS policy and procedures clearly set out requirements for SMOs to:

  • provide a detainee with a parole application form, at least seven months in advance of their earliest release date (ERD)
  • talk through the form with the detainee to ensure they understand what is required of them and the process going forward, and document this discussion
  •  support the detainee, where required, with their written application, or identify another support person to assist - for example, an Indigenous Liaison Officer (ILO), if the detainee identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Agreed

The SMP Operating Procedure and SMP Template have been endorsed and implemented. A Parole Information Sheet has been developed for detainees and is currently in use.

Complete

Recommendation 12

The new ACTCS parole policy and complementary procedures: 

  • outline procedural fairness requirements, including in relation to Pre-Release Reports (PRR)
  • include a formal quality assurance process to ensure PRRs are accurate and up to date before being provided to the Sentence Administration Board (SAB)
  • ACTCS engage with the SAB to clarify requirements for a Relapse Prevention Plan (RPP) – with a template made available and detainees assisted to complete them if required.

Agreed

Consultation with the SAB commenced in June 2021. Ongoing liaison with the Secretariat continues with a view to obtaining feedback from Board members in the coming weeks. The Pre-Release Report Operating Procedure has been completed and implemented. This includes a quality assurance process. 

In progress

Recommendation 13

ACTCS: 

  • include arrangements in the finalised parole and Home Visit Assessment (HVA) policies to ensure accommodation issues are clearly communicated to detainees and addressed prior to SAB hearings, and 
  • put in place quality assurance processes to ensure this occurs

Agreed

The first tranche of the Integrated Offender Management project will focus on the women cohort and will incorporate the Women's Offender Framework Operating Model. This first tranche has an expected completion timeframe of December 2021.

In progress

Recommendation 14

ACTCS implement information sharing or relationship protocols with other agencies that are involved when preparing a detainee for parole, to clarify roles and responsibilities. The protocol with Housing ACT should be prepared as an immediate priority.

Agreed

Planning for a broader Memorandum of Understanding with Housing ACT has commenced.

In progress

Recommendation 15

Formal arrangements and quality assurance processes are implemented to ensure: 

  • outstanding requirements are communicated to the SAB early, enabling hearings to be re-scheduled where required and SAB resources to be more effectively prioritised. 
  • detainees are prepared for SAB hearings, with any outstanding action items completed, and 
  • ACTCS and detainees have a clear understanding of who is responsible for communicating with detainees throughout the parole process.

Agreed

The Pre-Release Report Operating Procedure has been completed and implemented. This includes a quality assurance process. 

Complete