Nova Institution

Nova Institution for women is a multi-level (medium/minimum and maximum) security facility. It is located in Truro, Nova Scotia. It opened in 1995 and consists of self-contained living units that have the capacity to house 70 women inmates.

Nova Institution for women main entrance. On site parking is available to visitors as well as handicapped parking. All visitors including victims and observers must report to the security desk.

main entrance

Upon entering, observers and victims are required to sign a visitor's log. Observers and victims will be greeted by a Parole Board of Canada (PBC) Regional Communication Officer, or a Correctional Service Canada (CSC) Victim Liaison Co-ordinator, who will escort them to the waiting room and the hearing room. Photo identification is necessary. A visitor's card is issued and must be worn and kept visible to institutional staff at all times during the visit.

Visitors must sign a log

Visitors must pass through a metal detector at which time a search of person or personal belongings may occur. Institutional security staff may ask you to place your personal belongings in a locker. Please note that cameras and recording devices are not permitted at parole hearings.

metal detector

A pre-hearing briefing is done by a PBC Regional Communications Officer, or a CSC Victim Liaison Co-ordinator. The conditional release decision-making process will be explained to you and any questions you have will be addressed. Visitors are in the waiting room before the hearing, during the Board Members deliberation, and after the end of the hearing. Observers have access to safe washrooms and water.

PBC parole hearing participants include: the Board Members, the CSC Parole Officer, the offender and his/her assistant. The assistant is someone of the offender's choosing, i.e. a family member or a lawyer. Victims sit at the far end of the boardroom table. A victim may present a statement to the Board Members and may choose to read it or to present it on a videotape or an audiotape. The entire proceedings are tape-recorded.

Parole hearing

The PBC Hearing Officer introduces the participants and makes sure the procedural safeguards are respected. Board Members then begin the parole hearing. Board Members start the hearing by asking the CSC Parole Officer to present the case and to make recommendations. Following this, Board Members interview the offender regarding his criminal and social history, institutional behaviour, and results of programming and release plans. The offender's assistant may speak after Board Members are finished with the offender's interview.


When Board Members have completed their interview with the offender, everyone must leave the room in order to allow Board Members time to deliberate. Observers return to the waiting room where they may ask questions about what they have observed.

When Board Members have reached a decision, everyone is asked to return to the hearing room. The Board Members will announce their decision to the offender and will provide reasons for that decision. The hearing is now over. The observers return to the waiting room where they may ask questions or clarifications in regards to the decision.

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