.

Probation & Parole

Objective:

To provide quality information to the Courts and the Prison’s Parole Board and to efficiently manage community based sentences.

 

Legal Mandates:

  • Young Offenders Act 2008
  • Community Justice Act 2008
  • Criminal Procedure Act 1972
  • Crimes Act 2013
  • Crimes Ordinance 1961
  • Prisons Parole Board Act 1977
  • Family Safety Act 2013

 The Probation and Parole Service is a section of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration and is responsible for the management of community based sentences imposed by the Courts both before and after sentencing; and for the management of offenders released on parole.


 The Probation and Parole Services provides:


  • Pre-sentence reports to the Court. These reports outline the offender’s social circumstances, factors relating to offending, and provides advice on potential rehabilitation options to assist the Court in sentencing.
  • Pre-release reports to the Prisons parole Board to assist the Board in making decisions about release on parole.

 

Sentences Managed by the Probation and Parole Service

  1. Supervision – where a person is convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment or intimates a guilty plea before the Family Violence and Youth Courts, the Court can as alternative impose supervision. The Minimum period for supervision is six (6) months and not more than two (2) years.  Supervision has standard conditions that relate to everyone who is sentenced to supervision that cover where a person lives, their employment and notifying their probation officer of any changes. In addition the Court may impose special conditions which are specific to an individual person.  Special Conditions could include attending counselling, courses or programs to address their offending behaviour. It may also include that the person undertake community service. If person fails to comply with their supervision, they can be charged with breaching their sentence. The maximum penalty for a breach of supervision is 3 months imprisonment or a fine of up to $100 tala.   
  2. Community Serviceis where a person to undertake a number of hours of unpaid work within the community. It may be undertaken in their Village or as part of a group activity based in Apia.  The Probation and Parole Services is keen to hear from non-profit organizations that have work that they would like undertaken and are willing to support people undertaking community service.                                                                   
  3. Release on Conditions – Where the Court sentences a person to imprisonment for less than one year, the Court can impose a period of supervision for not more than one year. The Court can also impose additional conditions as part of the supervision Order.
  4.  Parole – Offenders who have served one year or one-half of their sentences, whichever is the longer period are eligible to apply to Prisons Parole Board to be released on parole Offenders sentenced to life imprisonment must serve a minimum of eight (8) years. The minimum period of parole is 12 months. Offenders released with more than a year remaining of their imprisonment will be on parole for the outstanding period.  Parole has standard conditions that cover where a person lives, their probation officer of any changes. In addition the parole Board may impose special conditions which are specific to an individual person.  If a person released on parole fails to comply with their sentences, they can be charged with a breach of parole or in some cases recalled to Prison to continue serving any outstanding time of their Imprisonment sentence.

Community Based Sentences

Who can be sentenced to Community Work?

  •  If a person is charged with an offence and pleads guilty then the District or Supreme Court can sentence them to Community Work.
  •  People who do not pay their fines can also be sentenced to Community Work.

 Is Community Work imposed in months / days or hours?

  • Community Work is imposed in ‘hours’. ie 150 hours

 What work can an offender do?

  •  The law allows work to be done at any hospital or church or for any charitable, educational, cultural or recreational organization. Work can also be for the benefit of disabled or elderly people, or on any land under the control of the state / village council or Government. 

 What type of work can be done by a person on community work?

  • The offender must NOT be asked to do any work considered “unsafe” and must not do any work usually done by a person in “paid employment”

 Does the offender get paid?

  •  No. This is very clear. No money or gifts should be given to the offender. The work he/she does if the sentence or penalty imposed by the Court.

What does the sponsor do to help?

  • The sponsor is very important because they arrange the work to be done by the offender. The sponsor must also keep a record of the days / hours that the offender works so the Probation Officer knows whether or not the offender is doing their sentence properly. The hours worked are recorded on the time sheet.

Time Sheets and recording

  • Timesheets are very important as they are the “official” record of the time the offender has attended CW.
  • Timesheets show when the offender has finished their sentence. See attached time sheet example.

 Does the sponsor have any legal powers?

  • No. It is only the Probation Officer. The Probation Officer has the legal power to take any “enforcement” action that might be required if the offender does not do their work when they are expected to do it.

 How does the Sponsor know when the offender should be doing the work?

  • The Probation Officer and Sponsor (and Offender) agree on the type of work and the date and times when the work will be done. This is known as the Community Work Agreement.

 What is the Community Work Agreement?

  • The agreement sets out what work the offender is expected to do. It also sets out the time and the days when the offender is expected to do the work. The Agreement is signed by the Probation Officer and the Sponsor and the offender receives a copy.

What rights does the offender have?

  • The Probation Officer (and sponsor) must find out what responsibilities the offender has (work .family/church) before the Agreement is signed. If possible community work should not interfere with the offenders other responsibilities.

 What does the sponsor do when there are problems?

  • The Probation Officer has overall responsibility. The sponsor needs to advise the probation officer of any problems.

 In remote locations how will the sponsor contact the Probation officer?

  • In remote locations the Probation Officers can arrange for a ‘Community Justice Supervisor’ to be given some of the powers of a Probation Officer and help the sponsor. For more information about this position please read pamphlet on Community Justice Supervisors.

What type of person makes a good sponsor and how much time would be involved

  • Anyone, man or woman, who is well known in their community, who has got the ability to find and organise work for an offender. How much time will depend on the type of work being done and how often the offender is expected to attend their community work.

Does the sponsor receive any payment for their work?

  • No it is voluntary, but the overall community benefits from the work done by the offender.

Community Work (CW)is a sentence imposed by the Court as an alternative to imprisonment. CW means the offender can continue to live with their family and do their sentence in the community. The work done by the offender must be for the benefit of the community or village. No payment of any kind is given to the offender for the work they have done. The community and sponsor can be involved in deciding what work the offender will do as part of the sentence.

  • For the sentence to be successful the Probation Officer needs the help of a “sponsor”

The Sponsor is a person in the community who helps the Probation Officer to set up the sentence. The sponsor’s role is to provide suitable work for the offender to do and keeps a record of the hours / times that the offender is working. The Probation Officer has overall responsibility for managing the sentence and must settle any problems.

About MJCA

Ministry of Justice, Courts and Administration

Mulinuu, Samoa

P.O. Box 49

info@mjca.gov.ws

Upolu Numbers:

  • phone : (685) 22671 - 74
  • Fax : (685) 21050

Savaii Numbers:

  • Phone : (685) 53514
  • Fax : (685) 53513
Please address all correspondences to the Chief Executive Officer / Registrar of the Courts.


© 2016 Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration. All rights reserved.