One of New Zealand's most infamous prisoners has been denied parole, despite the board noting he'd made "considerable progress" towards rehabilitation.

Arthur William Taylor is serving a sentence of 17 years and six months for violent and drug-related offending.

He recently turned 60, and has spent almost 40 years of his life behind bars.

He made his 18th appearance before the Parole Board last week, and today the full decision was released.


Taylor, who has become a self-described "prison lawyer", filed a number of documents to support his bid for parole.

They included a psychological report by Taylor's treating psychologist, a release plan and relapse prevention plan, as well as letters and emails of support.

Taylor had arranged an offer of employment through a person who supported him, and suggested an address where he could stay while on parole.

He told the Board that despite his "appalling criminal history", he did not see himself as a violent man.

He did accept that he had been involved with others in violence, and that his victims may have seen him as a violent person.

Taylor told the board his offending had stemmed from an "overwhelming desire to help people", which he now fulfilled through his work as a legal advocate for others.

The board said in its decision that Taylor's one-on-one sessions with a psychologist had produced a noticeable difference.

"Clearly Mr Taylor has made considerable progress over the past few years, largely it seems as a result of his individual psychological treatment sessions and ongoing involvement in legal work in prison.

"We accept too that there is a resulting insight by Mr Taylor into his own personality profile."

The were no proven incidents of misconduct since Taylor had moved to a low/medium prison unit in October 2014.

"This is in stark contrast to the 90 proven misconducts on Taylor's record in the preceding two year period," the decision said.

The board noted there were some misconduct incidents that were pending, including an allegation that Taylor poured a hot drink over another prisoner.

Taylor denies it happened, and has requested CCTV footage from the prison.

The board said that the allegation hadn't been proven one way or another, and noted that it was likely to be eventually dismissed, because of the time that had elapsed since the allegation was made.

But the decision to deny parole boiled down to "the paramount consideration for the board in every case is the safety of the community".

Despite the "many positives" in Taylor's submissions, the board said that standard wasn't met.

"In fact he is assessed as being at high risk of general reoffending, and moderate risk of violent reoffending.

"In our view Mr Taylor's risk remains undue because we are not satisfied that he has demonstrated that this risk of both general and violent reoffending can be appropriately managed for the period of time remaining on his sentence."

It noted that the longest period of time Taylor had spent in the community without a conviction was about two years.

Taylor will get another chance to argue for parole in March next year.

The board has asked for an updated psychological risk assessment at that date.

Taylor has more than 150 convictions, and became notorious for escaping prison in 1995 and 2005.

Taylor's sentence is due to end on October 12, 2022.