Correctional Service Canada takes concrete actions in response to Board of Investigation results
January 21, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
Today the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) responded to the release of a report from a National Joint Board of Investigation (BOI) into the circumstances around the January 2020 murder of Marylène Levesque in Quebec by an offender who was on Day Parole at the time.
This National Joint BOI process was guided by requirements set out in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. In the spirit of openness and transparency, the five-person Board included two external criminologists, who co-chaired the investigation.
The BOI report makes several recommendations to CSC, all of which CSC has thoroughly reviewed, analyzed, and accepted as part of its commitment to do everything possible to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. While the report does not make any recommendations to the PBC, the PBC is nonetheless taking actions as well.
In response to the report’s recommendations, CSC is:
- Changing its direct supervision model in Quebec. Currently, Community Residential Facilities (CRF) provide accommodation and support to offenders, while some directly supervise a small number of offenders (approximately 155 out of 2000) on release in the community, in Quebec. By March 31, 2021, CSC will take over all aspects of community supervision from the Maison Painchaud CRF. In addition, CSC is reviewing all other contracts in Quebec with the goal of returning all direct supervision responsibilities for federal offenders back to CSC. These contractors will continue to house offenders, as is the case across the country. CSC values these partnerships, as they are essential to supporting offenders in their transition from institutions to the community.
- Strengthening community supervision policies and tools so that specific elements, such as collateral contacts of the offender (employer, family members and friends) are regularly discussed during case conferences between Parole Officers and their supervisors to help continually re-assess an offender’s risk. CSC is revising its Information Collection policy to clearly define a serious offence for the purpose of information collection, specify which types of documents are required and relevant to an offender’s history, and implement a formal monitoring mechanism.
- Implementing new, mandatory Intimate Partner Violence training, which will become a core component of the existing Parole Officer Continuous Development Training. It will be required for all Parole Officers and their supervisors to support them in assessing and managing the risk of offenders.
These actions by CSC are in addition to those that were taken immediately following this tragic incident last year. The supervision strategy used in this case was inappropriate and not something that CSC condones in the way it manages offenders. To this end, CSC conducted a nation-wide review to ensure that all supervision strategies are sound, appropriate, consistent with legislation and policies, and serve to protect public safety. This review found there were no similar cases.
Now that the BOI report is complete, CSC has launched disciplinary investigations, as per Treasury Board guidelines, to determine any further accountability measures required. Since this incident, employees directly involved in the supervision and oversight of this case have been assigned other duties and are not supervising offenders.
The BOI did not make any recommendations to the PBC, notably finding that “the PBC training plan for new Board members was well structured and complete,” and that the Board members involved in this case “met all the PBC training requirements and had the level of knowledge required to perform their tasks.” Still, the PBC has delivered a variety of refresher training sessions to Board members on decision writing, focusing on the importance of consistency between verbal directions given at a hearing and the written decisions. All PBC Board members will also attend another training session on this topic at the PBC’s annual training in May 2021.
Email Media Relations for a full copy of the Board of Investigation’s report with appropriate protections to personal information.
Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), all offenders in federal custody, including those serving a life sentence, are eligible for parole consideration at some point in their sentence. The purpose of parole is to contribute to public safety through the gradual, managed, and supervised release of offenders into the community. Public safety is the paramount consideration in all aspects of an offender’s conditional release.
Instances of an offender committing a violent offence while on day parole are extremely rare. In 2019-2020, 99.9 percent of offenders on day parole completed their supervision period without committing a violent offence.
CSC manages a population of approximately 12,600 inmates in federal institutions and approximately 9,400 offenders in the community, approximately 2,000 of which are in Quebec.
Currently, eight community residential facilities in Quebec perform direct supervision and house approximately 120 offenders in the community. In addition, L’Agence St-Laurent, directly supervises approximately 35 offenders without residency per month.
A separate criminal investigation into Ms. Levesque’s murder was carried out by the Service de police de la Ville de Québec. This led to charges of first-degree murder. On February 27, 2020, the offender (Eustachio Gallese) was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years. He is currently in federal custody.
PBC Board members decide whether to grant conditional release and what conditions to impose. People on parole are then supervised by parole officers employed by CSC.
Correctional Service Canada
Parole Board of Canada
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