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Changes to Probation Officer powers from 30 March

30 March 2020

Changes have been made to the powers of probation officers in relation to community-based sentences or home detention and prisoner release conditions.

The Epidemic Preparedness (Epidemic Management— COVID-19—Parole Act 2002 and Sentencing Act 2002) Notice 2020 came into force at 1:00pm on 30 March 2020.

The Notice is an epidemic management notice under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, and activates certain dormant sections of the Parole Act 2002 and the Sentencing Act 2002.

Parole Act 2002

The notice activates only the following sections of the Parole Act 2002:

Section 13A, which enables things that would normally have to be done by the New Zealand Parole Board (“the Parole Board”) to be done—

  • by the Parole Board on the basis of documents only, without the presence or submission of any person who would otherwise have the right to be present or make a submission; or
  • by the chairperson or panel convenor, acting alone, either in the usual way, or on the basis of documents only, without the presence or submission of any person who would otherwise have the right to be present or make a submission.

Section 56A, which enables a probation officer to temporarily vary a release condition imposed by the Parole Board, if the officer has applied to the Parole Board to vary the condition.

Sentencing Act 2002

The notice activates the following sections of the Sentencing Act 2002, which relate to community-based sentences or home detention:

Section 54A, which allows a probation officer to temporarily—

  • vary any special conditions on a sentence of supervision if the officer or offender has applied for a court order to vary those conditions; and
  • vary or suspend any standard conditions of a sentence of supervision.

Section 54L, which allows a probation officer to temporarily—

  • vary any special conditions on a sentence of intensive supervision if the officer or offender has applied for a court order to vary those conditions; and
  • vary or suspend any standard conditions of a sentence of intensive supervision.

Section 67A, which allows the chief executive of the Department of Corrections to authorise probation officers to remit the hours of community work imposed on offenders.

Section 69A, which allows that chief executive to authorise probation officers to extend the period during which community work must be done.

Section 69J, which allows a probation officer to temporarily—

  • vary the curfew period on a sentence of community detention if the officer or offender has applied for a court order to vary the curfew period; and
  • vary or suspend any conditions of a sentence of community detention:

Section 80ZH, which allows a probation officer to temporarily—

  • vary any special conditions of a sentence of home detention if the officer or offender has applied for a court order to vary those conditions; and
  • vary or suspend any standard conditions of a sentence of home detention.

Section 80ZI, which allows a probation officer to temporarily vary any post-detention conditions of a sentence of home detention if the officer or offender has applied for a court order to vary those conditions.

Last updated on the 30th March 2020