Parole Board of Canada

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The Parole Board of Canada (formerly known as the National Parole Board) is a Canadian government agency that operates under the auspices of Public Safety Canada.

The National Parole Board was created in 1959 under the Parole Act. The Board primarily deals with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Criminal Records Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

It is an independent administrative tribunal that has the exclusive authority under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to grant, deny, cancel, terminate or revoke day parole and full parole. In addition, the Board is also responsible for making decisions to grant, deny and revoke pardons under the Criminal Records Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

The head of the NPB is a Chairperson who reports to Parliament through the Minister of Public Safety. As an independent agency, the Minister does not direct the operations of the NPB.

The annual budget of the NPB is $43 million and the headquarters are located in Ottawa, Ontario with other offices in Moncton, New Brunswick, Montreal, Quebec, Kingston, Ontario, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Abbotsford, British Columbia and Edmonton, Alberta.

Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which governs federal corrections, provinces and territories may establish their own parole boards for offenders sentenced to a term of incarceration of less than two years. Only two provinces now have their own parole boards: Ontario and Quebec.

In Canada, it is not a criminal offence to breach parole. Although warrants are put out for parole absconders, they are often not found until they are arrested for another crime.[2]

Parole in Canada[edit source | edit]

Parole is an option available to all offenders since Canada does not have a life sentence without parole option. The offender will have to spend a prescribed amount of time in custody, depending on the offence. For the vast majority of offences, that period is one third of the total sentence imposed.[3] Parole is not automatic. The parole board in deciding whether to grant parole must consider, first and foremost, the protection of the public; secondary considerations are reinegration, rehabiliation and compassion.[4] Eligibility for parole is between 10 and 25 years for murder and 7 years for other life sentences or indeterminate sentences.

Criticism and controversy[edit source | edit]

The National Parole Board has been criticized for its perceived lack of judgment in the handling of certain cases. Notable examples include:

The NPB defends its record, noting that between 1995 and 2000, more than 70% of 11,466 offenders released on full parole completed their sentence successfully while about 16% had their parole revoked for breach of conditions and 12.5% had their parole revoked as a result of committing a new offense.

In addition, the NPB noted that in the same five-year period, over 16,000 prisoners were released for day parole and that of these, nearly 83% were completed successfully, 12% had their parole revoked for breaches of conditions, and only 5.7% were revoked for committing new offenses.[20]

Although Correctional Service of Canada insist incidents like those above are rare, a report by the Canadian Police Association revealed that between 1998 and 2003, 66 people have been killed by convicts out on early release. [21]

In 2003, it was reported that the whereabouts of over 800 federal offenders and over 1100 provincial offenders on parole and escapees in Canada are unknown.[22]

In early 2011 notorious Quebec fraudster, Vincent Lacroix was released after serving 18 months of his 13 year sentence for stealing over $100 million. Sections 125 and 126 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act allow a narrow set of non-violent offenders access to parole after serving one sixth of their sentence. As a response to extensive media coverage and public outcry, the Conservative Party of Canada, at the urging of the Bloc Québécois tabled Bill C-59, a law which end early parole for non-violent offenders.[9]

Lawsuits[edit source | edit]

A number of lawsuits have been filed against the NPB alleging mistakes. Examples include:

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ a b Family wonders how killer got multiple paroles, CTV.ca News Staff, Dec. 21 2003
  2. ^ 'Balaclava Rapist' broke parole conditions, CTV.ca News Staff, January 18, 2008
  3. ^ Balaclava Rapist back in custody, by Tom Bricker, News 1130, August 24, 2008.
  4. ^ Man who fled Vernon halfway house charged in 2nd slaying, CBC News, February 28, 2007.
  5. ^ Popular cop, cabbie first victims by Jane Sims, London Free Press, August 13, 2005.
  6. ^ Tightening the noose - Ottawa’s refusal to help a Canadian on death row in U.S. rekindles capital punishment debate, Lorrie Goldstein, Licia Corbella, Canoe News (Canada), November 26, 2007.
  7. ^ Books clues to mind of Shaw's killer by Randy Richmond, London Free Press, August 16, 2005.
  8. ^ Getting Away With Murder, CTV W-Five investigation, February 11, 2006.
  9. ^ [1]

External links[edit source | edit]