The Parole Board deems high profile and long serving inmate Arthur Taylor too dangerous for early release, a report released today has revealed.

The Herald revealed last week that parole had been denied and that Taylor was set to take the board to the High Court for a judicial review.

He claims the decision to deny him an early release was biased and is alleging "improper procedure".

A source close to Taylor today confirmed the inmate would file his application for a review as soon as possible.


'Jailhouse lawyer' Arthur Taylor denied parole for the 18th time
Arthur Taylor alleges Parole Board 'biased, improper'

Taylor has spent almost 40 years of his life behind bars.

The 60-year-old is currently serving a sentence of 17 years and six months for serious violent and drug-related offending.

Last week he appeared before the board for the 18th time.

He will not be seen again until March 2018.

Taylor appeared at the hearing on March 7 at Auckland Prison where he is an inmate.

The Parole Board panel was made up of convener Kathryn Snook who is a lawyer from Wellington, Associate Professor Philip Brinded, a forensic psychiatrist, and former probation officer and service manager responsible for home detention in Christchurch James Thomson.

The Herald applied to attend the hearing and was initially granted permission but that permission was later revoked.


At the hearing Taylor made lengthy submissions to the board, accepting he had an "appalling criminal history" but saying he had "made considerable progress" in recent years and "emphasised his vastly improved behaviour in prison".

"Mr Taylor told the board he does not see himself as a violent man, although he accepted that he has been involved with others in violence and that his victims may perceive him as a violent person," Snook said.

"Mr Taylor told the board that his offending stemmed from an overwhelming desire to help people.

"He said he now sees the work he does as a legal advocate for others, as well as for himself, as fulfilling his need to help people but in a pro-social way."

At previous hearings the board recommended that Taylor complete the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme (STURP) for high risk violent offenders.

It is understood that to do so, Taylor would have to transfer to another prison which he was reluctant to do.

He also felt that the programme was not for him and told the board last week that he would benefit more from the "therapeutic effect of being released into the bosom of his family" and other support people than the STURP.

Auckland Prison at Paremoremo. Herald on Sunday photograph by Doug Sherring
Auckland Prison at Paremoremo. Herald on Sunday photograph by Doug Sherring

Taylor also offered a release proposal to the board which they considered "good".
However, parole was declined.

"We accept all of the positives in Mr Taylor's case," Snook said in the decision.

She noted Taylor was "focused and engaged" in sessions with a doctor and it was "clear there were treatment gains" and "a resulting insight by Mr Taylor into his own personality profile".

But the board was still concerned that Taylor's risk of reoffending was too high for him to be released into the community.

"Mr Taylor is more likely to offend in a general way... however there is still a moderate risk that any reoffending could be violent," Snook said.

A psychological treatment report provided to the board backed that up.

"In terms of violent offending risk for Mr Taylor, this is a less risk scenario.

"If Mr Taylor was to commit a violent offence this would be reactive and unplanned in response to a perceived threat to himself or to his family... [his] risk of violence would be increased if he is placed in threatening environments in which his already pervasive anxiety becomes unduly elevated and he believes himself powerless to manage his risk."

Snook said the key recommendation in the psych report was that Taylor complete the STURP.

"The board cannot release a person on parole unless we are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the offender, if released, will not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community," she said.

"In considering whether an offender poses an undue risk, we must consider both the likelihood of further offending and the nature and seriousness of any likely subsequent offending.

Arthur Taylor spoke to the Herald from his West Auckland home after he was released from prison in 2001. New Zealand Herald photograph
Arthur Taylor spoke to the Herald from his West Auckland home after he was released from prison in 2001. New Zealand Herald photograph

"Mr Taylor is not assessed as low risk. In fact, he is assessed as being at high risk of general reoffending and moderate risk of violent offending.

"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."

Taylor's sentence end date is October 12, 2022.

He submitted to the board that risk could be mitigated with appropriate parole conditions including GPS monitoring.

They disagreed and pointed out that the length of time he would need to be monitored was five years and seven months - yet the longest period of time he had spent in the community without a conviction was about two years.

"Parole today is declined. The board will see Mr Taylor again for further consideration in March 2018."

Taylor became infamous in 1998 after he escaped from the maximum security prison at Paremoremo north of Auckland with three others, including double murderer Graeme Burton.

The group made their way to the Coromandel, where they hunkered down in luxury holiday homes and the bush to evade authorities.

In recent years he has been in the headlines for his role as a "jailhouse lawyer", taking a number of legal actions against the Department of Corrections, including challenging the legality of the prison smoking ban and inmates' voting rights.