Even if you have been found guilty of a crime and sentenced to a prison term, there may be an opportunity for an early supervised release on parole. A criminal defence lawyer can help you explore your options.
What Is Parole
Parole is a supervised conditional release from prison. A parole officer from the Correctional Service of Canada will supervise the offender while they are out in the community on parole. The Parole Board of Canada makes decisions regarding parole, it is a federal administrative tribunal.
There are many types of parole and release that can be ordered, with different conditions and requirements to qualify.
Temporary Release – Escorted Temporary Absences
Escorted temporary absence can be applied for at any time during a sentence. In most instances it can be approved by the Correctional Service of Canada without having to apply to the Parole Board for approval (there are some exceptions for very lengthy prison terms). These absences are intended to facilitate offenders in attending family emergencies, medical appointments or to encourage work in the community. At the end of the release the offender would be taken back to prison.
Temporary Release – Unsupervised Temporary Absences
Similar to an escorted release in that the offender will need to return to prison after their temporary release, however they will not need to be supervised directly. For 2-3 year sentences the offender must have served 6 months to be eligible, for sentences of 3 years or more the offender must have served 1/6 of their sentence to be eligible, and for life sentences there must be only 3 years remaining before parole eligibility.
As the name suggests, offenders are allowed out during the day to participate in the community or attend employment, and at night they are required to return to a residential facility or a “half-way” house. There may be further restrictions on their actions in the community that can be imposed. Offenders are eligible for this program if there are only 6 months remaining before their full parole eligibility, or 6 months into their sentence if that would be a longer term. Prisoners with life sentences are eligible 3 years before their full parole eligibility. This must be approved by the Parole Board of Canada and can be revoked for breaching conditions, committing new crimes, etc.
Full parole is being released into the community under supervision by a parole office, but unlike day parole, living arrangements are independent. Full parole usually follows the successful completion of day parole. Eligibility for full parole is after the lesser of 1/3 of the sentence or 7 years. For first degree murder parole isn’t possible until 25 years have been completed. The Parole Board must approve the release. Offenders are under the supervision of their parole office until their sentence is completed.
For most offenders, they are released on parole after 2/3 of their sentence if parole has not already been granted by the Parole Board at 1/3 sentence completion. Offenders will remain under supervision of a parole officer until their sentence is completed.
If you or a family member have been sentenced to a term of incarceration, it is important to remember that there is a possibility of early release. A criminal lawyer can make you aware of your options and assist you with a parole application. Mehdi Au LLP has criminal defence lawyers on staff to assist you.
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