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How long are halfway house waitlists?

There are a number of halfway houses across Ontario that offer support for prisoners on day parole. However, even if a prisoner is granted day parole and has the support of a halfway house, it does not mean that the prisoner will be released on parole immediately.

A prisoner granted day parole to a halfway house needs to wait for a bed to become available. In some cases, a bed will be available for a prisoner in a few days, but often it can take weeks or even months for a bed to become available.

It can be challenging to predict how long the wait will be, as it depends on a wide range of factors. Halfway houses may have a rough idea of how long the wait will be, but the situation can change quickly (for example if a resident has their parole or statutory release suspended, then that can free up a bed). COVID-19 has also impacted halfway houses, with many experiencing outbreaks and reducing their bed capacity to allow for greater social distancing.

Before applying for day parole, it can be helpful for prisoners to reach out to halfway houses and their parole officers to learn more about the halfway houses and their expected wait times. A prisoner may need to decide whether they want to focus their release plan on an area they want to live in with longer waitlists, versus applying to halfway houses in other areas with shorter waitlists.

Prisoners can apply to multiple halfway houses, and may even receive multiple offers of support. If this happens, the Parole Board of Canada does not order day parole to one particular halfway house, instead it is up to the Case Management Team to place the prisoner when a bed is available.

Depending on the waitlist, it can also be worth considering day parole – other. The Board can grant day parole to a location other than a halfway house, which resembles full parole but offers a greater level of structure. This can be a good option for prisoners whose parole hearings are close to their statutory release dates, as waiting several months for a halfway house bed may result in them being detained until their statutory release dates without the benefits of a release on day parole.

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