What information does the Ontario Parole Board consider?
- Kate Mitchell
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The Ontario Parole Board is required to consider all relevant information that is reliable and persuasive. The Board can receive information from a range of sources, including correctional staff, the prisoner seeking parole (including the prisoner’s friends and family), victims, etc.
Before a parole or temporary absence hearing, correctional staff will compile and submit various documents to the Board. The Board is provided with general information about the prisoner (their age, offences, etc.), as well as records regarding institutional behaviour and misconducts, a Pre-Parole Report or assessment from the Temporary Absence Coordinator, risk assessments, certificates for any programs completed while incarcerated, etc. In drafting a Pre-Parole Report or completing a report for a temporary absence application, correctional staff may consult with police, local probation officers, and victims. The Board may also be provided with police occurrence reports and documents from criminal proceedings, such as the judge’s reasons, the Pre-Sentence Report (if one was done), and any victim impact statements from the criminal proceedings. Victims are also entitled to draft victim statements specifically for a parole hearing, which they may choose to present at the hearing.
Prisoners can also submit information to the Board, and it is generally very helpful to do so. Prisoners may want to provide a written release plan or statement for the Board to read before the hearing, supporting documents regarding their release plan, support letters from friends and family, etc. It is important to start preparing for parole as early as possible to ensure that there is sufficient time to collect and submit all documents to the Board. In fact, it can be helpful to start preparing for parole even before entering custody while awaiting sentencing.