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5 Things to know about delayed parole eligibility

  • In some cases, the court has the power to delay an offender’s parole eligibility until they have served half their sentence or 10 years (whichever is less). This can only be done for select offences that are prosecuted by indictment, and only if the offender is sentenced to two years or more. If the court doesn’t delay an offender’s parole eligibility, then the normal rules for parole eligibility in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act apply.
  • Murder comes with an automatic life sentence and has unique parole eligibility rules. Offenders convicted of first-degree murder are automatically ineligible for parole for 25 years (which can be stacked if there are multiple murders). For second-degree murder, the sentencing judge will set parole eligibility at anywhere from 10 to 25 years.
  • The sentencing judge will decide the period of parole ineligibility, but correctional authorities are responsible for calculating parole eligibility dates. Offenders sentenced to more than two years serve their sentences at a federal institution. Once an offender is sentenced and taken into custody, Correctional Service Canada will calculate when they’re eligible for full parole, day parole, unescorted temporary absences, and (if applicable) statutory release.
  • In general, parole eligibility is calculated from the date the offender is sentenced. This means pre-trial custody is not taken into account when calculating when an offender can apply for parole.
  • However, if someone receives a life sentence other than as a minimum sentence, parole eligibility is calculated from the date of arrest. A life sentence is the minimum sentence for murder, so parole eligibility is calculated from the date of sentencing generally.
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