Alfred Thomas Vincent
NZ Herald story 9th June 2011
New Zealand's longest serving prisoner Alfred Thomas Vincent has been declined parole, with the Parole Board saying the high risk he presents making his chances of ever being released bleak. Vincent, 73, is in his 44th year in prison. The Parole Board says he has an "enormous" history of sexual offending. "On his own admission, more than 100 children were abused by him in the past," the board said in its decision from a parole hearing held on May 31. There was no proposal for release put forward. The board said Vincent presented at his hearing as "very pleasant to us".
"He was well-dressed and alert. He describes himself as being very happily situated at the present time. He works in the nursery. He obviously enjoys that. He is keeping well. He has a problem with one eye and he is partly deaf and takes an inhaler for some breathing problems, but otherwise describes himself as well. "The psychological report we have assesses him as at high risk of re-offending. "In the psychological report the psychologist comments, 'It appears increasingly unlikely that Mr Vincent will be released'. "That seems to be perfectly true. The psychologist goes on to talk about his wellbeing and the need for him to be humanitarily cared for in prison. It is clear that is happening.
"Escorted outings may very well be part of that in order to keep Mr Vincent aware of the community which he left so many years ago and also as an ordinary humanitarian effort to allow him to consider himself part of the communities of this country." The board would consider potsponing further parole hearings the next time it saw Vincent. "It does seem increasingly unlikely that he will be released, but at some stage a further assessment of his risk will be important."
From a Sunday Star Times article 19th July 2009
New Zealand's longest-serving prisoner will have spent 45 years behind bars before he gets another chance at freedom. Christchurch recidivist paedophile Alf Vincent, 71, was sentenced to preventive detention in 1968 after being convicted on seven charges of performing indecencies on five boys aged 12-14, including two brothers, over about a year. He had a string of indecency convictions spanning the previous five years but none of his convictions involved sexual violation, such as rape, sodomy or violence.
Last week, the Parole Board released its decision to postpone his next parole hearing for two years, meaning he could not seek freedom until 2011. To date, Vincent has been incarcerated for almost 43 years, spending two-and-a-half years in prison on two separate child indecency charges before his preventive detention sentence was imposed in September 1968. He was one of the country's first preventive detainees. At today's cost of about $90,000 a year, his jail time has cost taxpayers about $3.9 million in 2009 dollars.
The only time Vincent spent outside jail over the past four decades was in the early 1980s, when he was given day passes to work in the community and also had weekend leaves over a few months, when he stayed with his father. However, all his leave was revoked in October 1984 when he was charged with preparing to commit a crime in a public place after he was seen talking with some young boys in a park and one put his arm around Vincent during one weekend leave. The board said in its most recent decision Vincent was said to be "generally polite and compliant' in jail but continued to display inappropriate sexual Behaviour. "He is working to reduce this and to develop respectful interactions with staff and fellow inmates. They are also continuing to work on a long term reintegration plan."
Vincent has lived in Rolleston Prison, near Christchurch, for almost all his incarceration. He has sought parole - and been declined - every year for the past 34 years. The board said Vincent enjoyed working in his prison unit's nursery and had acquired a considerable knowledge of plants and gardening methods. "He is content with his life. Realistically however, release is a long way off. Mr Vincent accepts that. At this stage, transfer to self care is not supported."
Vincent had asked to be released to live at the home of a current inmate and the man's mother, which was refused. The board noted a psychologist found Vincent was "destabilised" by his annual parole hearings so recommended a postponement. Normally a parole postponement order was for three years but the board agreed Vincent could reapply for parole in two years. Vincent's lawyer told the board Vincent consented to the postponement because of concern he could "fall through the cracks and not receive the support he requires if he is not seen by the board for three years".
From a Sunday Star Times article 20th August 2006
New Zealand's longest-serving prisoner is preparing for his likely release after more than 40 years behind bars. The push to free Christchurch recidivist child sex offender Alfred Thomas Vincent, 68, comes as the government plans parole and sentencing changes to curb growing inmate numbers. Vincent has spent the past 38 years on preventive detention after being convicted in 1968 on seven indecency charges involving boys aged 12 to 14. He had already spent two and a half years in prison for indecency in the mid-1960s. None of the charges involved sexual violation or violence.
Once in jail, he admitted he had offended against as many as 500 boys. The Parole Board suggested in June the Corrections Department temporarily release Vincent from Christchurch's Rolleston Prison on humanitarian grounds. Despite him remaining a high risk to children, it proposed a trial release into supervised accommodation. The plan will be considered at Vincent's next parole hearing in about a month's time. Vincent's lawyer, Michael Starling, told the Sunday Star-Times he was pleased the board was encouraging plans for his client's release. "Nobody ever said this man should spend his whole life in jail and I think he's been overlooked." Starling said Vincent had applied for parole annually for the past 31 years, since he became eligible.
News of Vincent's long jail stint stunned those who worked with similar offenders in the community. "For the offending he has done, it's an extraordinary length of time to be in prison," said John McCarthy, director of Safe, an organisation that runs community-based sex offender programmes. "There are people who have done much worse who have had far shorter sentences." He said worse sex offenders were being successfully managed in the community. "(Vincent) could have been employed, paying taxes and been a productive member of the community while getting the help he needed." The Corrections Department declined to comment on the case, citing privacy, but confirmed he had served the longest continuous sentence of anyone in New Zealand's history.
The Press, Saturday 28th June 2008
New Zealand's longest-serving prisoner has again been declined parole due to the lack of suitable arrangements for him in the community. Alfred Thomas Vincent, in his early 70s and in his 40th year in prison, was sentenced to preventive detention in 1968 after being convicted on seven charges of performing indecencies on five teenage boys over about a year. He has indecency convictions spanning the previous five years, but none involved sexual violation, such as rape or sodomy, or violence. Once in jail he claimed he began offending as a 15-year-old and had indecently assaulted as many as 500 boys in Canterbury between 1952 and 1968.
In a decision last week the Parole Board, headed by Judge David Carruthers, said Vincent, who is housed at Rolleston Prison, still presented a high risk of reoffending and "at the present time is in the best place". Previous attempts to release him in a careful, supervised way had failed and although an organisation was developing other initiatives, none of these had come to fruition.
"A different solution for Mr Vincent is yet to emerge. Today there is really no change in his situation and parole will be declined. There is no alternative. "He is well cared for where he is. Everybody knows him. He has an established place in the prison, he is used to the routines and has no difficulties with that continuing." Last year the board said it was unacceptable "that he is doomed to die in prison".
Corrections yesterday confirmed Vincent, who has one eye, was New Zealand's longest-serving prisoner. His modus operandi was to lure boys into his car with presents and he told prison psychiatrists he also used physical force, threats and presents to coerce the boys into performing sexual acts. He blames his offending on the sexual abuse he suffered as a child from a relative. He has spent most of his sentence at Rolleston Prison, near Christchurch, where he spends most days working in the nursery and is trusted to work outside the wire.
An effort to prepare Vincent for release occurred in the early 1980s, when he was allowed weekend leave to stay with his father and day leave to work outside the prison. That quickly ended in 1984 when he was arrested for putting an arm around a boy in a park while on weekend leave. He was charged with preparing to commit a crime in a public place, quashing hopes of release
This is an excellent model for how we should be dealing with this type of offender. It was the only realistic way of dealing with him and no doubt has prevented an enormous volume of similar offences, given that he had committed some 500 by 1968.
Date of Birth
A string of convictions for paedophilia in Christchurch up to 1968
An attempt was made to release him in 1984 - and he attempted to reoffend on weekend leave
A number of theft and dishonesty convictions from 1956
Rolleston prison, Totara Unit
Sentenced to preventive detention (7 years non-parole at that time) in September 1968
Declined parole after 44 years May 2012!
Last known parole hearing August 2015
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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