Types of conditional release
Temporary absences are the first type of release that an offender may receive. Temporary absences may be escorted (ETA) or unescorted (UTA). This type of release may be authorized for various reasons, including for work in community service projects, contact with family, personal development, and medical reasons.
ETA – Offenders may apply for ETAs at any time during their sentence. Most ETAs are at the discretion of the Correctional Service of Canada, while others (e.g. some life sentences) must be approved by the Parole Board.
UTA – For sentences of 3 years or more, offenders are eligible for UTAs after serving 1/6 of their sentence. For sentences of 2-3 years, UTA eligibility is at 6 months into the sentence. Offenders serving life sentences are eligible for UTAs 3 years before their full parole eligibility date. Offenders classified as maximum security are not eligible for UTAs.
Day parole allows an offender to participate in community-based activities in preparation for full parole or statutory release. Offenders on day parole must return nightly to a community-based residential facility or halfway house unless otherwise authorized by the Parole Board of Canada. In addition to standard conditions of day parole, the Parole Board may also impose special conditions that an offender must abide by during release.
6 months before full parole eligibility date (PED) or 6 months into the sentence, whichever is greater. For offenders serving life sentences, 3 years before PED.
Full parole (FP)
Full parole allows an offender to serve part of their sentence under supervision in the community under specific conditions. Full parole normally follows successful completion of day parole. Offenders on full parole typically reside in a private residence.
For offenders serving determinate sentences, full parole prepares them for their eventual release to the community following completion of their sentence.
At 1/3 of sentence, or 7 years, whichever is less. For offenders serving a life sentence, parole eligibility is set by the Court at the time of sentencing. For first degree murder, eligibility is automatically set at 25 years, and for second degree murder, eligibility may be set at between 10 to 25 years.
Statutory release is a mandatory release by law. It is not parole and is not a decision of the Parole Board of Canada. By law, most offenders (except those serving a life or indeterminate sentence) must be released by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) with supervision after serving 2/3's of their sentence, if parole has not already been granted.
Offenders on SR are required to follow standard conditions which include reporting to a parole officer, remaining within geographic boundaries, and obeying the law and keeping the peace. The Parole Board can also impose special conditions specific to the offender. In some instances offenders on SR are required to reside in a halfway house or community correctional centre operated by CSC.
Statutory release aims to provide offenders structure and support before their sentence expires to improve the chances of their successful reintegration into the community. Offenders can be returned to custody if they violate their conditions of release or are believed to present an undue risk to the public.
CSC can refer SR cases to the Parole Board for detention until the end of the sentence. The Board may, in specific cases where the legal criteria are met, order these offenders to be detained in prison until the end of their sentence.
Offenders on parole are free to live their lives as they please.
Offenders on parole must obey the law and follow standard conditions, such as to report regularly to a parole officer. The Parole Board can also impose special conditions, such as to abstain from the use of drugs or alcohol, or to reside in a halfway house.
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