17 Apr 2012

Fewer parole hearings under planned law change

8:18 pm on 17 April 2012

Some of the country's most notorious inmates will soon have to wait longer for a parole hearing.

The Government has confirmed plans to extend the maximum parole deferral of three years to five years.

The Parole Board can enforce a postponement of a hearing when an inmate is making particularly slow progress or refusing rehabilitation.

The board's outgoing chairperson, Judge David Carruthers, has previously called for advance screening of parolees to save time, money and victim distress .

Justice Minister Judith Collins says screening will be introduced to postpone what she describes as unneccesary hearings where an offender has little chance of release.

Prisoners with extremely remote chances of being granted release would have their parole eligibility pushed out from three to five years.

Legislation to enact the changes is expected later this year.

Changes to parole rules don't go far enough - victim's mother

The mother of a pizza delivery worker who was beaten to death by six teenagers says changes to parole conditions are a good start, but do not go far enough.

Rita Croskery's son, Michael Choy, was murdered in Auckland in 2001 and since then she has been on average to six parole hearings a year.

Ms Croskery says the parole process for prisoners started too early.

She says inmates should serve their total sentence in prison and then be supervised on their release.