Fear and Loathing at the Police Conference

Parole board under attack… (again)

Parole board says police call for changes based on misleading numbers

OTTAWA (CP) – A police association is calling for what it terms a culture change at the National Parole Board, saying too many dangerous prisoners are being freed.

But the parole board suggested the numbers the association are using to make its case are misleading. The Canadian Professional Police Association said Tuesday during its annual lobbying of MPs that the success rate for reviews of mandatory life sentences without parole is 80 per cent.

“It’s become kind of an automatic thing,” said Tony Cannavino, president of the 54,000-member association.

He said what’s known as the faint hope clause is not so faint.

“Why should it be automatic, why would a criminal, a murderer or a predator after two-thirds of his sentence get that free pass?”

But a parole board official says only one in four eligible prisoners applies under the faint hope clause because most know they wouldn’t get it.

Spokesman John Vandormalen also pointed out that applicants don’t ask for parole but only for a reduction in the time they must wait to apply for parole.

He said the latest figures show 684 prisoners were eligible for review in the last 12 months and 140 applied.

Of those 140 applicants, 107 were granted some reduction in the time they had to wait to apply for parole and when they did apply, 77 of those applicants were paroled.

The board said 20 previous paroles were revoked during the same time period for breaches of terms.

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