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When an inmate has been transferred to a Federal Institution, their Parole Officer (PO) will provide your eligibility dates for day and full parole, as well as your statutory release date (this information will also be provided in your Correctional Service Paperwork). See our blog about Parole Eligibility.
6 months before an inmate’s Full Parole eligibility date he/she will be automatically scheduled for a Full Parole hearing. However, it may be a better choice to delay the Parole hearing at this time by requesting a postponement of your Hearing from the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) or by waiving the Parole hearing. If the hearing is waived, the inmate may apply for a full parole review when they are ready.
A waiver means the inmate will submit a letter or document in writing to advise the PBC to not proceed with the automatically scheduled Hearing.
Postponements are granted by the PBC when the inmate has a good reason to postpone, for example: the inmate may need more time to finalize their release plan, complete a program, or to complete other assessments the PBC believe are necessary such as a psychological assessment.
Residing in a Minimum Security Institution increases the chances for Parole, however it is not necessary. Parole depends on many factors including:
- Seriousness of the offence
- The inmate’s risk factors
- Any programs taken by the inmate to address those risk factors
- The inmate’s release plan which is created to reduce the possibility of re-offending.
The inmate may want to delay an application for parole until all programs are complete and you have the support of your PO in order to improve the chance of being granted parole.
When Not To Proceed With Parole:
The chance of being granted parole all come down to risk, the inmate should not apply for Parole if:
- Any programs have not been completed successfully
- There Release Plan has been created
- There is no support from the inmate’s PO (chances are greatly reduced if the PO does not support release)
- A lack of understanding of the factors that contributed to the crime
- Lack of community support (i.e. Halfway House support or Family support)
- The required documents for the hearing will not be available at the scheduled time
- Recent charges within the institution
Again, if the inmate is not ready for a parole hearing, a request to postpone the hearing, withdrawal of the application, or in the case of automatically scheduled hearings the inmate may waive the right to that hearing. If an inmate waives their right to an automatically scheduled hearing or withdraws their application for parole, they may apply again for parole at any time. The PBC will have 6 months to schedule a hearing upon receiving the request.
It is important to waive a Hearing or withdraw as soon as possible. Withdrawals of applications must be made at least 14 days before the PBC begins their review of the inmate’s file, applications cannot be withdrawn once the PBC begins their review (unless a situation arises beyond the inmate’s control, such as delays due to COVID-19).
For inmates serving sentences for Schedule I/Violent-type offences, Hearings should not be refused and rights should not be waived within 15 days of the date of the Hearing as there will be consequences to doing so (the Board can cancel the next review hearing) if this is done more than once without good reason. Postponements will be granted at the discretion of the PBC. Postponements may be requested and granted for reasons which include, but are not limited to:
- The inmate wishes to complete an assessment, treatment, or program prior to the review
- The inmate’s assistant cannot be present at the hearing at the scheduled time
- The required documents for the hearing will not be available at the scheduled time (in this case the PBC may postpone the hearing without an official request from the inmate)
- The time for which a hearing will be postponed is variable, but is typically 2 months
If a request for postponement is rejected by the Board, the hearing will proceed as scheduled. Inmates serving life sentences cannot waive their first review although they can choose not to see the Board for an in-person hearing. Inmates designated as “Dangerous Offenders” cannot waive reviews of their case, although they can also choose not to see the Board for an in-person hearing.