Community Releases

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is committed to protecting Canadians by supervising offenders through a safe and gradual transition into the community.

Types of release

Conditional release

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) grants both day parole and full parole based on assessments prepared by CSC. Offenders are assessed individually, and are conditionally released based on their risk of reoffending.

Day parole

  • Allows offenders to take part in activities in the community while completing their sentence.
  • Offenders serving a sentence of two years or more may apply for day parole six months before or six months after qualifying for full parole.
  • Offenders serving a life or indeterminate sentence may apply for day parole three years before their full parole eligibility date or after three years, whichever is greater.

Full parole

  • Allows offenders to complete part of their sentence in the community.
  • Although offenders under full parole are not required to return to an institution at night, they must report frequently to a parole officer.
  • For offenders serving a life sentence, full parole eligibility is set by the court at sentencing.
  • For offenders serving an indeterminate sentence, full parole eligibility is normally set at seven years.

Statutory release

Statutory release (SR) requires federally sentenced offenders to serve the final third of their sentence in the community, under supervision and under conditions of release similar to those for offenders on full parole. Offenders serving life or indeterminate sentences are not eligible for SR.

The PBC can keep an offender in custody after their SR date by issuing a detention order. This takes place if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the offender is likely to commit an offence causing serious harm or death, a sexual offence involving a child, or a serious drug offence.

Release process

It is the parole officer's (PO) responsibility to make the necessary arrangements for the release of offenders. If an offender cannot be released on the date specified, or if outstanding arrest warrants have been identified, the PO will notify PBC.

An offender's release takes place on:

  • the date set by the PBC for full or day parole, on or after the eligibility date;
  • the last working day prior to the SR date; or,
  • the last working day before the end of the offender's sentence, also called the  warrant expiry date (WED).

Breach of conditions and revocation of release

  • If an offender breaches the conditions of their release, CSC takes the appropriate measures needed to properly assess the offender and may refer the case to the PBC. The PBC decides if the offender should stay on release.
  • Revocation of release may take place if an offender breaches the conditions of their release or are believed to present an undue risk to the public.

Offenders with mental or physical health concerns

Offenders with mental and or physical health issues are accommodated appropriately. Their release may involve a Chief of Health Services and/or a psychologist.

Temporary absences

Temporary Absences (TAs) may be granted as part of an offender's correctional plan and for personal development, medical reasons, family contact, community service, etc. TAs may be granted to offenders who do not present an undue risk to public safety. The responsibility for temporary absences is shared between the PBC and CSC.

Escorted Temporary Absences (ETA)

  • An ETA allows offenders to leave the institution with an escorting officer.
  • The length of the absence is limited.

Unescorted Temporary Absences (UTA)

  • An UTA allows offenders to leave unescorted.
  • Offenders in maximum-security institutions are not eligible to apply for an UTA.

Work release

  • Takes place for a certain period of time and involves work outside of an institution.
  • Work release is supervised by CSC employees.

External escorts

An external escort is when an offender is escorted to a location outside of the institution.

Security measures are taken before, during, and after an escort to ensure public safety.

An offender may be escorted outside of an institution for a number of reasons, including:

  • medical assessment or treatment
  • transfers
  • court appearances;
  • compassionate/family contact escorts
  • personal development and rehabilitation
  • work release

Updated January 2019

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