How parole works
When an adult offender is sentenced to prison, the sentence may be structured in two parts:
- a minimum term they must serve in prison, which is called a non-parole period
- a second part of their sentence (the parole period) which they may be eligible to serve in the community under rules (called conditions) decided by the Adult Parole Board.
Offenders may get parole after they have served the non-parole period of their sentence.
The Adult Parole Board (External link) considers offenders' applications for parole.
Victims can apply to be on the Victims Register and be kept informed about an offender’s parole and make a written submission to the Adult Parole Board about an offender’s parole.
For example, an offender could be sentenced to a maximum term of seven years in prison with a non-parole period of four years.
This means that the offender must serve four years in prison. They are then eligible to apply to the Adult Parole Board for parole.
If successful, the offender will be released into the community under conditions decided by the Adult Parole Board and supervised by parole officers from Corrections Victoria. However, their sentence will continue until seven years has been completed. The Adult Parole Board can cancel the offender’s parole and return them to prison if the offender behaves in a way that puts the community at risk.
Why offenders are released on parole
The purpose of parole is to provide offenders with a supervised, structured and supported transition to the community and reduce their risk of reoffending.
An offender is not automatically released at the end of their non-parole period, which is sometimes called an earliest eligibility date (the earliest date they can be released). Offenders must apply to the Adult Parole Board who will determine how much time, if any, the offender should serve on parole in the community.
The Adult Parole Board’s most important consideration when making a decision about an offender’s parole is the safety and protection of the community.
Offenders on parole are supervised and the Adult Parole Board sets rules called conditions they must follow. If they do not follow the conditions of their parole, they may be returned to prison.
You can learn more about parole on the Adult Parole Board’s website (External link).
Victims can have a say about an adult offender’s parole
If you are on the Victims Register and the offender applies for parole, the register will contact you and ask if you wish to make a victim submission about how you might be affected if the offender is released on parole.
Offenders’ applications for parole are considered by the Adult Parole Board. In your written victim submission to the Adult Parole Board, you can suggest parole conditions for the offender that could help improve your safety, such as asking that the offender is not allowed to:
- contact you in any way
- be in the suburb where you live or work.
Stay informed with the Victims Register
Victims of violent crime in Victoria can apply to go on to the Victims Register.
The Victims Register can:
- update you when an adult offender applies for parole
- give you information about parole conditions
- give you advice on what to include in the submission.
If the offender is allowed to go on parole, the Victims Register will let you know at least 14 days before the offender is released from prison.
Your information will not be given to the offender
The offender will not be told if you:
- are on the Victims Register
- make a victim submission to the Adult Parole Board.
Your submission cannot be obtained by the offender by legal means (including freedom of information requests) without your consent. Your personal information will never be shared with the offender.
Parole for young people
Victims of crime committed by a young person serving a custodial sentence in a Youth Justice Centre are not able to go on the Victims Register.
Decisions about parole for young people are made by the Youth Parole Board of Victoria (External link).