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Early release

Early Release on Licence

This information is for persons convicted of Commonwealth offences. Information for State and Territory offenders can be found on the relevant State and Territory corrective services website.

Applications for early release on licence are subject to the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

Under section 19AP of the Act, the Attorney-General, or a delegate may grant a licence for a person serving a federal sentence to be released from prison. Subsection 19AP(4) provides that the Attorney-General must not grant a licence under this section unless he or she is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which justify the grant of the licence.

Subsection 19AP(4A) provides that the Attorney-General may have regard to:

  1. any extensive cooperation by the person with law enforcement agencies before sentencing that the sentencing court did not take into account, or
  2. any extensive cooperation by the person with law enforcement agencies after sentencing, or
  3. any serious medical condition the person has that cannot adequately be treated or managed with the prison system.

This subsection does not limit the matters to which the Attorney-General may have regard and all applications are considered on a case by case basis.

Release on licence on compassionate grounds is only justified in extreme circumstances. Prisoners' families inevitably suffer varying degrees of hardship and distress because of the imprisonment of a family member. Further, the Explanatory Memorandum specifically states that excellent conduct, remorse or contrition or family hardship (unless of an extreme kind) would not normally constitute exceptional circumstances.

If an application for early release relies on medical grounds, the department may seek medical records in relation to the prisoner. In such matters, the department requests the prisoner to provide a signed consent form authorising the release of their medical records. This authorisation is included in the attached form.

How to apply

An application for early release must be in writing and specify the exceptional circumstances relied on to justify the grant of the licence. All supporting information and evidence should be provided by the applicant.

Prisoners may complete the attached form and apply through Sentence Management at their prison or through their individual case manager. Applications may also be made by the prison medical authorities, a solicitor or a person on behalf of the prisoner.

In considering applications, the department may seek further information from the applicant or seek comments on the claims made in the application from agencies involved in the case such as the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, the Australian Federal Police and State and Territory departments of corrective services. The application and any supporting material provided may be supplied to the relevant agencies as part of this process. This is done in accordance with the department's privacy policy. If matters adverse to the application are raised by agencies, the applicant will be advised and provided with an opportunity to respond to these matters.

Under subsection 19AP(5), the Attorney-General or a delegate is not required to consider more than one application for early release on licence per year. Generally, subsequent applications will be considered where new circumstances have occurred since the original application was made or there has been a significant change to the existing grounds for the original application.

If the offender has an appeal pending, an application for early release will not usually be progressed until the appeal has been finalised.

All information held by the Commonwealth Parole Office is treated in accordance with the department's privacy policy.

For more information contact the Commonwealth Parole Office at cpo@ag.gov.au or at:

Principal Legal Officer
Commonwealth Parole Office
Attorney-General's Department
3-5 National Circuit
BARTON ACT 2600

Release – up to 30 days before the end of a non-parole period

This information is for persons convicted of Commonwealth offences. For information for State and Territory offenders, visit the State and Territory corrective services websites page.

Under section 19AL(3A) of the Act, if the Attorney-General, or delegate considers that in all the circumstances it is appropriate to do so, the Attorney-General may specify in a parole order that a person is to be released from prison on a day that is before the end of the non-parole period, but is not earlier than 30 days before the end of the non-parole period.

Release up to 30 days before the end of a non-parole period is generally only granted where there is an urgent need for a person to be released early.  An example may be where a specific event directly related to the prisoner's rehabilitation is scheduled to occur in the 30 days before the expiry of the prisoner's non parole period. Early parole is not granted as a form of recognition for remorse, good prison behaviour or good rehabilitation prospects.

How to apply

An application for 30 days early release should be in writing and specify the circumstances relied on to justify early release. All supporting information and evidence should be provided by the applicant and applications are considered on a case by case basis.

Prisoners may complete the attached form and apply through Sentence Management at their prison or through their individual case manager. Applications may also be made by the prison medical authorities, a solicitor or a person on behalf of the prisoner.

Applications for 30 days early release are often considered at the same time a prisoner is considered for release on parole. In considering applications, the department may seek further information from the applicant or seek comments on the claims made in the application from agencies involved in the case such as the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, the Australian Federal Police and State and Territory Departments of Corrective Services. The application and any supporting material provided may be supplied to the relevant agencies as part of this process. This is done in accordance with the department's privacy policy. If matters adverse to the application are raised by agencies, the applicant will be advised and provided with an opportunity to respond to these matters.

All information held by the Commonwealth Parole Office is treated in accordance with the department's privacy policy.

For more information contact the Commonwealth Parole Office at cpo@ag.gov.au or at:

Principal Legal Officer
Commonwealth Parole Office
Attorney-General's Department
3-5 National Circuit
BARTON ACT 2600