Transcript: Your Guide to Parole
(On screen: Interior library at federal penitentiary — Fred is browsing through a book. He does not see Ray sneaking up on him from behind. Ray gives Fred a tap on shoulder.)
Ray: Hey, Fred!
Ray: How you doin'?
Fred: Not bad. You?
Fred: So… What's new?
Ray: You didn't hear the news?
Fred: The news…?
Ray: I got day parole.
Ray: What's the matter? I thought you'd be happy for me.
Fred: Yeah, I'm happy for you buddy… it's not that. It's just that I'm having my hearing next week and, um, I'm kind of nervous a little bit, ya know.
Ray: You don't have to be scared, I mean look at me… I went and here I am. I got turned down the first time… you've got to work at it.
Fred: Yeah, I understand that…
Voiceover: Sometimes inmates choose not to attend their parole hearing for any number of reasons. But the parole hearing is important because it's an opportunity to show that you are ready for gradual, controlled and supervised release.
(On screen: Your Guide to Parole — Interior classroom at federal penitentiary)
Michael: I was turned down the first time, and that made me realize that I had a lot of work to do. At first you know, at the beginning, I didn't think my Parole Officer had my back at all. I didn't think he was there to support me.
(On screen: Talk to your Parole Officer)
Michael: But I was just being stubborn. He was like one of those old teachers you had back in school, you know, they were really hard on you. But it was for your own good.
He really helped me understand the importance of the hearing and what a crucial role it played in my re-integration.
At first, I wasn't into this whole correctional programming thing, so when the idea of parole came up, I just knew I wasn't gonna get it. And the reason was simple: I didn't have any clue as to why I was here in the first place. So, when you do your correctional plan, the things they're gonna be looking for are:
Do you know why you're here? Do you have a sense of what the impact was of your offense? Then they're gonna wanna know: Have you made any progress on your programs here? Have you followed them? Have you improved? Is there improvement? Most importantly, they're gonna wanna know: What's your plan for when you get out? And you can't just wing it. You can't just say "Oh, I'm gonna hang with my friends…" I'm gonna see what happens… Uh-uh. They're gonna wanna know: Where you're gonna live? What are you going to do for income? Are you gonna get a job? Are you gonna go back to school? What's your plan?
Planning will actually help you. If you can demonstrate to them that you've got a good solid plan in place, and that you are gonna follow it, it will really go far. I know it helped me.
(On screen: Follow your correctional plan)
Voiceover: In order to measure your progress and to ensure that you are on track with your correctional plan, it is important to attend your parole hearing even if you have not completed your programs.
(On screen: Interior classroom at federal penitentiary)
Ray: Fred, When I got back from my second hearing, I told 'em what I'd done so far and I told 'em what I still needed to work on. And they asked what are my plans after getting out.
(On screen: Visuals — B-Roll of Penitentiary [Hand on chain-link, barbed-wire with camera, exterior — inmates walking with laundry bags, shadow movement, hallway, metal divider, exterior fence, fence with "Caution" sign])
Voiceover : Parole hearings are attended by two Parole Board members, your parole officer and you. You may also invite an elder, a priest, an advisor as well as an interpreter. The hearing may also be attended by victims and observers. Hearings are usually held in the institution you are currently in.
Board members consider your social and criminal history, any factors that may have contributed to your involvement with the criminal justice system, the reasons for, and type of, offences, as well as your understanding of the offence and any past offences.
Board members will also look at your progress, your behaviour in the institution, any victim statements, your release plan, and community supports.
(On screen: Interior Classroom at federal penitentiary)
Ray: Look, you can ask your family for support. You can even ask your friends. They can write to the parole board. They can even be there with you during the hearing.
(On screen: Visuals — B-Roll of Penitentiary [metal gate and hallway, cell])
Voiceover : Your parole officer will be there to make recommendations based on your progress. The information in your file will be shared with you, and the hearing will be recorded.
(On screen: Push to Interior library - A lifeline in-reach worker)
Michael: You know guys, one thing I want to say to you before I leave is that there's a whole life out there just waiting for you. You don't want to just spend the rest of your life here. You don't have to. And you can get out of here. But take advantage of the programs that are here right now to help you prepare for the outside. You've got educational programs. You can get job training through CorCan. It helped me get a job when I left here. For me, the mere fact of having a family, having a daughter on the outside, I knew I had to leave. And I left prepared to take up that life.
(On screen: Attend your parole hearing — Interior classroom at federal penitentiary)
Ray (to Fred): Look Fred, the Board members, they look at how you got here in the first place, they look at how you're doing now, and they look at if you might be a risk once you get out of this place. The best thing is to be as honest as you can. That's all.
Fred: I guess.
Ray: This is your chance to show them how you are doing.
Ray: It's important, bud. You can do it.
(On screen: Fred smiles at Ray in a way that we understand that Ray has gotten his message across.)