Middlebrook’s appointment to Parole Board ill-advised

CLANT considers that the reported appointment of former Northern Territory Commissioner of Corrections Mr Ken Middlebrook as a community member of the Northern Territory Parole Board was ill-advised.  The composition of the Board is framed by the Parole Act to ensure that its ten appointed community members “reflect as closely possible, the composition of the community at large”.  With his extensive prior involvement in Northern Territory correctional services, including as a statutory member of the Parole Board while he was Commissioner, Mr Middlebrook is in CLANT’s view not well suited to be chosen as a person to “reflect… the community at large”.  In addition, his membership of the Board gives rise to a perception that he would be influenced by his extensive prior involvement with, professional interest in and personal knowledge of many of the prisoners whose applications for parole are considered by the Board.  That perception could in turn impair public confidence in the integrity, impartiality and independence of the Board.

CLANT makes no comment about the performance of Ken Middlebrook as Corrections Commissioner, or the circumstances of his departure from that position.