When your loved one is incarcerated, it can be difficult to know how you can help – especially if you are far away or have limited access to them. At Borys Law, we help prisoners and their families navigate the distinct challenges of incarceration to ensure their legal rights are protected.
Inmates serving federal sentences (sentences of 2 years or more) in prison are entitled to apply for full parole at 1/3 of their sentence and day parole, which is either 6 months prior to full parole or a minimum of 6 months, and to have a hearing before the Parole Board of Canada to determine if they should be released on parole. As well, federal inmates are entitled to be released on statutory release at 2/3 of their sentence, unless they are referred for detention. If they are, they are entitled to a hearing before the Parole Board for this as well.
The difference between being released on parole or statutory release, especially on a lengthy sentence, can often mean spending years more in prison. Borys Law is located in Kingston, Ontario (the prison capital of Canada) and has extensive experience assisting inmates at parole hearings. Although inmates sometimes feel that they do not need a lawyer’s assistance at their parole hearing, we believe we can provide a significant value to clients, including assisting them in preparing for a parole hearing and understanding the types of questions they will be asked by the Parole Board, developing a comprehensive release plan, coordinating with their support persons on the outside, and making submissions to the Parole Board.
While less common (because of the length of the typical sentence), inmates serving provincial sentences (sentences of less than 2 years) in jail are also entitled to parole at 1/3 of their sentence or, if service a sentence of less than 6 months, at any time, and Borys Law has experience representing provincial inmates before the Ontario Parole Board as well.
Involuntary transfers and other issues related to security level
Cascading down to a lower security level is a great accomplishment for an inmate and can result in them having a significantly easier time serving their sentence; however, inmates can be involuntarily transferred back to a higher security institution over any misconduct or even unproven allegations. An involuntary transfer can have far reaching consequences for parole, temporary absences, and other privileges enjoyed by inmates.
Borys Law has extensive experience assisting inmates in getting back to a lower security institution by providing a rebuttal to the transfer in pursuit of an informal resolution and challenging the transfer in court through a habeas corpus application, if necessary.
Inmates can be involuntarily placed in “administrative segregation” for a broad variety of reasons, even where no allegations against them have been proven. Segregation can result in a significant loss of privileges and freedoms enjoyed by inmates in general population, as well as confinement to a cell for up to 23 hours a day. Being in segregation is an extreme hardship on inmates.
Borys Law has extensive experience getting inmates back into general population by advocating for them before the Segregation Review Board and challenging their segregation in court through a habeas corpus application, if necessary.
Inmates in federal prisons can be charged for a variety of institutional misconduct offences, such as Possession of Contraband/Unauthorized Items, Being Disrespectful, Failing to Obey a Justifiable Order of a Staff Member, or Being in an Unauthorized Area. These charges are heard in “disciplinary court” within the institution, where lawyers can represent inmates on the charges.
Disciplinary charges can result in penalties including a loss of privileges, the imposition of extra duties, fines, and even up to 30 days segregation. As well, the record of a disciplinary charge conviction can have a lasting negative impact on an inmate when it comes time for parole or being transferred to a lower security institution.