Youth Parole and Youth Residential Boards of Victoria

The Youth Residential Board and Youth Parole Board are established by sections 431 and 442 respectively of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005. The Boards exercise jurisdiction over all young people sentenced by a court to a period of detention in a youth justice custodial centre and over young people transferred by the Adult Parole Board from imprisonment in adult prison to serve their sentence in a youth justice centre.

Parole allows young people on a youth justice centre order (15–20 year olds) or youth residential centre order (10–14 year olds) to serve part of a custodial sentence in the community. Parole workers at area youth justice units supervise young people on parole orders.

The Youth Parole Board and Youth Residential Board may be seen to be the one Board (as the same members make up both Boards). However, legislatively they are two distinctly different Boards, with jurisdiction over two separate groups of young people in detention.

The Boards are made up of a chairperson, being a judge of the County Court, two community members (one of whom must be a female) and one member from the Department of Human Services. All sitting members have an alternate member who is able to sit in their absence. The Board members are appointed for a period of up to three years and may be re-appointed.

Courts imposing sentences of detention in a youth justice custodial centre do not have the option of setting a minimum term to be served in custody. The Boards have discretion in determining parole eligibility and each case is taken on its own merits. The Boards have a schedule whereby they generally consider parole at a time which is dependent on the length of the sentence. The general rule for the Boards is to consider all sentences of six months or more as eligible for parole. For sentences of less than six months, remissions up to one third of the sentence may be granted.

The Boards make decisions concerning the granting of parole, variation or cancellation of parole and transfers between jurisdictions. In 2010–11 the Boards paroled 220 males and ten females on youth justice centre orders and eight males and two females on youth residential centre orders.

The Boards generally meet on a fortnightly basis. The Boards receive and consider case histories, client service plans, parole review reports, psychiatric and psychological reports and progress reports on young people in custody and on parole to assist in their decision-making.

The Youth Parole and Youth Residential Boards are committed to the rehabilitation and best outcomes for young people under their jurisdiction. They make decisions within a framework that balances the needs of the young person with community safety considerations. The Boards work closely with custodial staff and parole officers to assist young offenders to address problems, smoothly transition into the community and successfully complete their parole period.

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