In 2007 I was asked by the district court to conduct an alcohol and drug assessment on Tony Maude who was facing charges of selling methamphetamine. Maude was exposed to drug use at an early age. He started smoking cannabis at the age of 10, using speed at 13 and drinking at age 15. When he was 22, he attended rehab at the Salvation Army and managed to get his drinking under control. But it wasn’t long before he started using methamphetamine instead and eventually began selling it to feed his habit.
He got busted by police and was sentenced him to prison for six years. Mr Maude knew he needed help and while in prison, he attended individual counselling for 18 months and was then admitted to the Drug Treatment Unit. He successfully completed the programme and was released on parole in May 2010 – after serving more than three years in prison. But police and probation wouldn’t leave him alone. Since being released, Mr Maude has been recalled to prison four times to finish serving his sentence.
As part of his parole conditions, Maude was required to attend another rehabilitation programme in the community. He was half way through this when he was asked by the programme facilitators to describe a potential high-risk situation and how he would cope with it. He made one up and described an imaginary situation in such a realistic way, that the facilitators thought it had actually occurred and passed the story on to probation. Instead of checking the details, his probation officer immediately told the police Mr Maude had breached his parole conditions. Police arrested him and sent him back to prison. When Mr Maude appeared at the recall hearing a month later, it was clear to the Board that the facilitators, the Probation Service and the police had all got it wrong – and ordered Mr Maude to be released.
Probation then tried to breach him for failing to complete the rehabilitation course (because he was in prison) and hauled him back into court. His probation officer received a serious reprimand from the judge for his treatment of Mr Maude and for wasting the court’s time.
When he got out, Maude went to live with a friend at an approved address. He had only been there about a month when his mother died after a long battle with cancer. But his probation officer didn’t care. He was miffed at being told off by the judge and now had it in for Mr Maude. Shortly thereafter the police raided the house pretending they were looking for methamphetamine.
Police found a cannabis plant growing in a wardrobe – in the bedroom where his friend slept – who was also the owner of the house. They arrested Mr Maude and sent him back to prison – but didn’t arrest his friend who owned the cannabis plant. The friend appeared at the recall hearing a month later and testified that the cannabis plant belonged to him not to Mr Maude. For a second time, the parole board agreed that Mr Maude had not reoffended and released him immediately.
During the ten months that Mr Maude had been on parole, he started going out with a female friend he had known for many years. His probation officer was aware of the relationship and had even let them go on holiday together. He gave Mr Maude special permission not to report into him during the week they were away. About a week after his second recall hearing, Mr Maude and his partner became engaged.
By now he had a different probation officer. Feeling happy about his engagement, he told his new probation officer the good news. Three days later, he and his fiancée were both served with a non-association order. After being honest with probation about his situation, Mr Maude ‘felt gutted’. Nevertheless, he stayed away from his fiancée and the relationship came to an end.
Mr Maude had also told his probation officer that he had some work organised doing up cars and asked for permission to start. His probation officer gave him the go ahead. Lo and behold, a few days later, the police came to the property where he was working. They found Mr Maude and rang probation to check that he was allowed to be there. The probation officer told the police officer it had been approved and he was allowed to work.
Later that night, Mr Maude’s sister rang him up and told him that the armed offenders’ squad had been round to her house wanting to arrest him. Mr Maude turned himself in six weeks later and the Probation service told the Parole Board he had been “working without written permission”. This time the Board officially recalled him to prison – even though the Corrections Department is supposed to help prisoners find work because having a job on release reduces the risk of re-offending.
Since working on parole was a minor breach, Mr Maude was eventually released again – still on parole for his original offending (selling meth). This time, he lived with friends at an approved address in Seaview. However, he began to get depressed because the house was unsuitable to bring his children to. (On top of all his other problems, Mr Maude had also been trying to gain custody of his five year old daughter in the Family court.) Mr Maude was also beginning to feel that no matter what he did, the police and the probation service seemed to be out to get him. He bumped into a friend who offered him a smoke of methamphetamine. In a moment of weakness, he accepted the offer – and started using again.
Eventually Mr Maude found a nice three-bedroom home where he could have his children and the probation service approved the accommodation. He had only been in the house for three weeks when he was raided by the police – yet again. This time they found a small amount of methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty and was returned to prison to serve out the remainder of his original sentence
Recommendation to the Court
Ever since he was first released, on parole Mr Maude has been harassed by the police and probation service. During this time, his mother died, his engagement broke up and his ex-partner took off to Christchurch with his daughter and the police raided every house he stayed at.
Mr Maude relapsed under the overwhelming stress of this combined series of events. In my report to the Court, I concluded that, although he relapsed, Mr Maude does not require any further drug treatment. “What he needs to be left alone by the police and probation service to get on with his life.” (Posted with Mr Maude’s permission.)
8 thoughts on “How police and probation harass prisoners on parole – the case of Tony Maude”
Thanks Roger – have FBd.
I can’t believe this. It seems like a waste of police and probation time to me; quite apart from the on going injustice. Here is someone who was going his utmost to resolve some serious drug issues and getting no assistance or common sense responses from the two agencies involved.The Courts did well to point out the discrepancies in Mr. Maude’s treatment.
It certainly needs a look at and changes made if the above is so.
Police harassment does not only occur when people are on parole. My son and our lives were made a misery by the police when he was placed on bail. Every night, not day the police would arrive at our home to check that our son had not absconded. These nocturnal visits took place anytime from midnight and throughout the night randomly. The policeman would arrive like the gestapo and march down our decking to the front door, stomping as loudly as possible and making as much noise as possible, causing our dogs to bark in the process and hammer as loudly as possible on the front door with their fist.
On one occasion I objected to the objectionable manner that this particular policeman was checking up on my son. I explained that he was being inconsiderate and that it was not necessary to be so loud and objectionable when checking, we lived as a family in a family home. He disagreed that his visit was inconsiderate and told me I only had my son to blame and that I should speak to him about it as he was only doing his job. I replied you may be doing your job but you do not need to carry it out in such a way that it is offensive.
Sadly the parole system is setup to be proactive of failure it appears to thrive on failure, encourage negative behaviour rather than the opposite. This also applies to home detention, when I tried to pull all stops to prevent my son going to prison the head of probationary services advised me that sometimes it is best to let people serve a prison sentence rather than do home detention! I found this remark extraordinary.
When home detention is served again the police and the probationary services exercise negative, apathetic, unsupported and detached attitudes. This can include provoking remarks in conversation, unpleasant remarks which are derogatory and discouraging, failing to provide work, community services and activities to occupy a person and expecting them to sit at home for 24/7 within the first four weeks of the sentence.
It would take little or no effort to apply a positive attitude and do the opposite to what they currently do which is SFA.
Could it be that the system at this point has had so much failure and news media coverage on those failures that it goes over board to make sure nothing goes wrong, hence crippling anyone that is trying to make ago of things or anyone that they think could possibly cause a disruption?
One side of the story.
Parole boards take recommendations from the probation service and the Police, this is so flawed and you have absolutely no reply to their comments. I offered a home for a cousin for parole the probation service told me that they thought it was a good idea and it would receive a favourable report, the Police opposed it , and it was turned down because I was recovering from a depression after several operations and Cancer……. three months on my cousin has been told by the correction department to apply for accommodation at the local night shelters in Wellington, some five hours away from where I am. I might add his family are all in Brisbane, and i am the only relative he talks to, and has anything to do with……. who is setting whom up to fail here, the corrections department need to gone through like a dose of salts,,, come on the night shelter what is wrong with this people wake up.