Canadian Criminal Sentencing/Parole

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Introduction[edit]

Parole is the program whereby offenders are permitted to be released from the correctional facility or penitentiary before the expiration of sentence. Parole is a form of supervised release where their release is conditional on terms set by the Parole Board.

The parole ineligibility runs from the date of arrest.[1]

  1. s. 746; R v Toor [2005] BCJ 1382 (BCCA) at para. 13

Early Release[edit]

Under s. 120 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, SC 1992 c 20, the offender are ineligible for release anytime before the one third mark of their sentence or 7 years, whichever is less.

Statutory Release[edit]

"Statutory release" refers to the eligibility for release of an offender at the two-thirds mark of their total sentence pursuant to the Parole Act. The premise is that an offender was credited with "remission" that gave extra credit for time served in custody.

Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, an offender will be releasable after two-thirds of the sentence can be revocable by the Parole Board for those who are serving sentences for offences listed in Schedules I and II of the Act.

Accelerated Parole[edit]

Under s. 125 to 126.1 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, permitted first time, non-violent offenders to apply for day parole at the one-sixth mark of their sentence and full parole at one-third of their sentence. The Parole Board must be satisfied there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the offender is likely to commit an offence involving violence before the expiration of their sentence.

On March 24th, 2011, the Abolition of Early Parole Act Bill C-59, was assented, repealing s. 125 to 126.1 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

The removal of accelerated parole cannot be retrospective or it will violate s. 11(h) of the Charter.[1]

  1. Whaling v. Canada (Attorney General), 2012 BCCA 435 (CanLII)

Faint Hope Applications[edit]

Section 745.6 [6] permits a person convicted of first degree murder to request to apply for parole before the mandatory 15 year mark.

Each province has enacted rules for the procedure to make such an application.[1]

See also: R v Morrison, 2012 ABQB 619 (CanLII)

  1. NTW[1]; SASK[2]; ONT[3]; BC[4]; NS[5]

Court Ordered Delayed Parole[edit]

The court has the power under s. 743.6 [7] to delay the eligibility of parole to either one half of the global sentence or 10 years, whichever is less.

The test for delayed release is whether the court is "satisfied, having regard to the circumstances of the commission of the offence and the character and circumstances of the offender, that the expression of society’s denunciation of the offence or the objective of specific or general deterrence so requires, order that the portion of the sentence that must be served before the offender may be released on full parole is one half of the sentence or ten years, whichever is less."[1]

Any consideration of applying this section must conform with procedural fairness and permit the defence an opportunity to respond to the application. Where possible notice should be given to defence in advance.[2]

A failure of a jury to make a recommendation on parole ineligibility does not restrict a judge from making a decision on parole ineligibility who always has the final say on sentence. [3]

  1. s. 743.6
  2. R. v. Zinck [2003] S.C.J. No. 5, 2003 SCC 6
  3. R. v. Cerra, 2004 BCCA 594 (CanLII)