Management of the parole for convicted triple murder William Bell was unsatisfactory and the case should serve as a warning, according to two reports into his parole released today.

Bell was today jailed for life, with a record non-parole period of 33 years, for the murder of William Absolum 63, Wayne Johnson 56, and Mary Hobson and trying to kill Susan Couch.

Bell, 25, was sentenced at the High Court at Auckland after being convicted last year for the murders at the Mt Wellington-Panmure RSA, on December 8, 2001, while on parole.

His associate Darnell Tupe, 24, was sentenced to 12 years on three manslaughter charges with a minimum non-parole period of seven years.

Bell was released on parole on July 4, 2001 after serving part of a five-year jail sentence for aggravated robbery.

In November that year he assaulted a woman but his Mangere Service Centre probation officer did not start proceedings that could have resulted in sending him back to jail.

A report by the Corrections Department said that would have been unlikely to happen.

The report said five parole conditions were imposed on Bell: that he see a psychologist; complete a Straight Thinking programme (designed to provide offenders with reasoning, problem-solving and social skills); have an alcohol/drug assessment and counselling; to remain at a particular address and to undertake employment as directed.

However, Bell "screwed up" his parole conditions, did not see the psychologist nor had an alcohol/drug assessment, the report said.

It concluded Bell's parole management was "not of a satisfactory standard".

Systemic failures - including inexperience, lack of skills and lack of quality management - were blamed for the poor management.

"It was very quickly apparent in December 2001/January 2002 that the management of Bell's parole was not satisfactory. However it was also quickly apparent that there were a number of systemic issues that appeared to be underlying this."

The report noted 11 areas of poor management;

* no referrals were made and followed up for Bell to attend counselling with a psychologist,

* no referrals were made and followed up for Bell to complete as assessment for alcohol/drug counselling,

* the supervising probation officer did not undertake a home visit,

* the supervising officer did not challenge, check out or approve Bell's change of address when he moved from the address he was paroled to,

* Bell was allowed to move onto fortnightly reporting before the expiry of the first third of his parole period,

* his case notes were incomplete,

* Bell was not required to report between October 12, 2001 and November 14, 2001 while his supervisor was unavailable,

* no follow up was done when the acting service manager noticed cases of inadequate service management,

* Bell's probation officer got insufficient support and advice,

* and on at least four occasions out of 12, Bell reported he was not seen by his supervising probation officer but by someone else.

Another report, by the Community Probation Service , reviewed sentence management at the Mangere Service Centre and found the quality of case management at the centre was now good.

"The reviewers have concluded that the service centre is now operating efficiently and effectively, and that the standard of case management in the office is good."

Management standards had improved and the implementation of a national offender warning system improved control of high re-offending risk cases.

But it warned the problems at Mangere could happen elsewhere.

"The staff situation at Mangere during the period of Bell's parole, with too many inexperienced staff, high rates of staff turnover and significant demands on resources created by intensive training requirements, is an example of a situation that should be a warning to all managers."

Implementation of a risk identification process was suggested.

The report recommended all regional managers identify other service centres with staffing problems, that all senior managers be aware of steps taken to improve staff ability and confidence, that staff be encouraged to talk about work-load problems and that the high rate of sex offenders on Mangere's OWR be investigated.

- NZPA