Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Nia Glassie's mother to be released from prison

Lisa Kuka, pictured here at a Coroner's inquest into the death of Nia Glassie in 2010. Photo / File
Lisa Kuka, pictured here at a Coroner's inquest into the death of Nia Glassie in 2010. Photo / File

The mother of Nia Glassie, who was jailed for the manslaughter of the toddler in Rotorua in August 2007, will be released on parole next month.

Lisa Michelle Kuka, 43, was jailed for nine years on two counts of manslaughter after 3-year-old Nia's horrific death from brain injuries after, among other things, being put in a tumble dryer set to hot, swung around on a clothesline and kicked in the head.

Kuka was one of four people given lengthy prison sentences after Nia's death and was sentenced on February 4, 2009.

At a parole hearing held on January 31 at Arohata Prison, a decision was made to release Kuka into the care of her whanau next month at an undisclosed location and under strict parole conditions.

According to the Parole Board decision Kuka was released on parole on September 22, 2014, but was recalled to prison to serve the rest of her sentence on August 22 last year.

Her prison sentence was to end on October 16, 2017.

Since she was sent back to prison she had worked as a grounds-person and a wing cleaner.

"Regarding Ms Kuka's behaviour and attitude in the wing, the Prison Officer advised the Board that in the last few weeks Ms Kuka's behaviour has deteriorated," the decision stated.

"She has not been responding to authority positively, she has been stubborn 'it is her way or the highway'.

"In response, Ms Kuka states she has been anxious and stressed particularly with her Board date looming. She accepts her behaviour has not been acceptable."

Kuka had been assessed as being a medium risk of offending.

"The offender-related factors are assessed as an unbalanced lifestyle, substance abuse and lack of problem-solving skills.

"Intimate relationships have been identified as a very high risk factor for Ms Kuka."

The board's decision also stated the release proposal was unusual "in that two addresses have been identified for Ms Kuka".

"This plan has been put together with a view the whanau share the responsibility for supporting Ms Kuka and that whanau members are able to have younger whanau who are under 16 stay at their residence when Ms Kuka is not there.

"Ms Kuka has solid support from her whanau," the decision went on to say.

"The whanau demonstrated a good understanding of keeping themselves and other members safe.

"Ms Kuka has a solid release plan and has the support of her whanau.

"She understands her high-risk situations and she has strategies to address these should high risk situations arise.

"... we consider with full compliance and with all of the standard and special conditions that Ms Kuka would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community in the time she has left on her sentence," the decision stated.

The board also called for a report from the Department of Corrections to be provided in July regarding her parole.

Kuka must adhere to a number of parole conditions, including:

Undertake and complete an appropriate treatment/counselling/programme to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer and treatment provider.

Must not move from the two addresses she is allowed to live without written approval of a probation officer.

For the first three months of release she must be at those addresses between the hours of 9pm and 6am.

Must notify her probation officer before entering an intimate relationship.

Must not possess or consume alcohol or drugs or any medication that is not prescribed.

Is prohibited from initiating any media contact by way of television, radio, print media and social media including twitter, Facebook, blogs or contribution to any web sites.

Must not associate or otherwise have contact with any person 16 years of age or younger without the approval of her probation officer.

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