What are temporary absence permits?
- Kate Mitchell
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Federal inmates can apply for Escorted Temporary Absences (ETAs) and Unescorted Temporary Absences (UTAs). But provincial inmates (those serving sentences less than two years) apply for what is known as Temporary Absence Permits (“TAPs”).
TAPs allow inmates to leave the institution they are at to go to work, attend school, seek medical treatment, attend to family responsibilities, participate in community programs, etc.
The Superintendent authorizes temporary absences of up to 72 hours, and the Superintendent decides which conditions are imposed on the TAP and if the inmate will be escorted or not.
If an inmate wants a TAP for longer than that, then they apply to the Ontario Parole Board. The Board decides whether the TAP will be granted and which conditions apply. Inmates are entitled to appear before the Board and make submissions.
The Temporary Absence Coordinator/Committee helps gather applications and makes recommendations to the Superintendent or Board, as the case may be.
Inmates on temporary absences must carry their TAP and abide by all the conditions imposed. If an inmate fails to abide by the conditions, then the TAP can be cancelled. Additionally, an inmate who breaches the conditions can receive a misconduct or be charged with a provincial offence (punishable by imprisonment of up to one year). The TAP can also be canceled if it is considered necessary and justified to prevent a breach.
If the Superintendent denies an inmate’s TAP application, then the inmate can reapply if circumstances change or there is new information available. If the Board denies an inmate a TAP, then the decision can be appealed to the Chair of the Board for a review.