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What is a parole sponsor?

A provincial inmate applying for parole will likely be asked by the Institutional Liaison Officer (“ILO”) and/or the Ontario Parole Board about who the inmate’s sponsor is.

A sponsor is the person the inmate will be living with, if granted parole, and who will play a significant role in the inmate’s release plan.

In order to find that the inmate’s risk is manageable if released on parole, the Board will likely want to see that there is a sponsor and understand what specific role the sponsor will play in the inmate’s release plan. It’s generally beneficial for the sponsor to provide a support letter, explaining the living arrangement and how exactly that individual will help support the inmate during his or her time on parole.

A letter from a sponsor might include:

  • The address the sponsor and inmate plan to reside at
  • Who else lives in the residence
  • The sponsor’s schedule/routine (i.e. does the sponsor work during the day, etc.)
  • The sponsor’s expectations and house rules
  • Supervision that will be provided by the sponsor and anyone else
  • An overview of how the sponsor will provide support for the offender (i.e. helping with a job search, providing transportation to the offender, offering financial support, etc.)

For federal inmates, the term sponsor is not generally used, but inmates applying for full parole are also expected to present a comprehensive release plan that describes, among other things, where they’ll be living and who will provide support in the community. Again, it is generally helpful if the inmate can get support letters from whoever they’ll live with and anyone else who will factor into the release plan and provide support to the inmate.

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