An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA)and the Abolition of Early Parole Act (AEPA)

Backgrounder

Proposed Amendments to CCRA Regarding Administrative Segregation

The law provides for the use of administrative segregation in limited circumstances to help ensure the safety of inmates, staff and visitors. An inmate is placed in administrative segregation when:

  • there are no reasonable alternatives and
  • inmate’s association with other inmates would jeopardize the security of the penitentiary or the safety of any person, including the inmate, or when the inmate would interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Under the CCRA, the Correctional Service of Canada must always release the inmate from administrative segregation at the earliest appropriate time. However there has never been a legislated presumptive time limit for confinement in administrative segregation.

Proposed Amendment to CCRA Guiding Principle

The Bill proposes to reinstate the CCRA guiding principle “least restrictive measures” in Part I of the Act. For consistency, the guiding principle of “least restrictive determination” would be reinstated to deal with conditional release in Part II of the Act.

Proposed Amendment to CCRA for Presumptive Release

The Government of Canada is proposing to amend the CCRA to introduce a legislated time limit on confinement in administrative segregation. Under the current CCRA the Correctional Service of Canada must always release the inmate at the earliest appropriate time. Eighteen months after the legislation comes into force, there will be a presumption that an inmate must not remain in administrative segregation longer than 15 days, subject to security and safety concerns and there being no reasonable alternative.  For the eighteen months prior, the presumptive limit will be 21 days.

This means that an inmate would be released from administrative segregation at the presumptive time limit unless the Institutional Head (e.g., Warden) provides a written rationale that shows there continue to be safety and security concerns and there are no reasonable alternatives.

Independent External Reviewer

Independent External Reviewers (IERs) will examine the cases of any inmate ordered to remain in administrative segregation past the presumptive release and make a recommendation to the head of the institution whether to keep the inmate in segregation or release them from segregation. As well, IERs will consider cases of inmates who have been in administrative segregation for 90 days in a calendar year, or on 3 or more occasions in the same calendar year. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness will appoint IERs, who will hold office for a term of not more than five years, and may be reappointed for one or more terms.

Proposed Amendment to CCRA for Five Year Review

The legislation proposes to amend the CCRA to provide for a comprehensive review of the legislative and regulatory reforms to the administrative segregation regime five years after they take effect. The proposed reforms and investments in Budget 2017 will help improve the conditions under which inmates are confined in administrative segregation.

Aligning the CCRA and AEPA with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Proposed Amendment to CCRA to Reinstate the Right to Oral Hearings

The removal of the requirement for oral hearings following a suspension, termination or revocation of parole or statutory release has been found to be unconstitutional. The proposed legislative amendments would reinstate an offender’s right to an oral hearing in these circumstances. In 2012, the requirement for oral hearings before the Parole Board of Canada, for these specific reviews, was removed and left to the discretion of a Parole Board member. Discretionary hearings meant that not all offenders would be heard by way of a hearing and that their representations would have to be made in writing. This change to review hearings was found by the Quebec Court of Appeal to violate section 7 of the Charter (life, liberty and security of person).

Proposed Amendment to AEPA to Reinstate Accelerated Parole Review for Offences Prior to March 28, 2011

While the Government continues to examine the changes made to the criminal justice system over the last decade, this Bill would align the Abolition of Early Parole Act (AEPA) with the Charter by indicating that accelerated parole review (APR) is available to inmates (who met the criteria for accelerated parole) who committed an offence, but were not sentenced before the repeal of APR in March 28, 2011. Until it was abolished in 2011, APR gave first-time, non-violent inmates the chance to be reviewed for parole at an earlier date.  As a result of the repeal, low-risk inmates were required to spend more time in custody before being eligible for parole.


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