You are on page 1of 14

Preparing for Parole

Prepared by & posted with kind permission of Peter Collins (Bath Institute)
The following is an extensive direction for preparing for parole. The who's, why's, where's and what's
are all covered. Feel free to print it off and send it to your loved one. Make sure you give them plenty
of time because there is a lot of ground to cover in order to prepare for a parole hearing.
Acronyms used in this document are as follows:
RP = Release Plan
CMT = Case Management Team
NPB = National Parole Board *NOW in 2016, it is the Parole Board of Canada (PBC)*
CSC = Correctional Service Canada
OSL = Offender Security Level
ETA = Escorted Temporary Absence
UTA = Unescorted Temporary Absence
IPO = Institutional Parole Officer
CMOI = Case Management Officer
OSL = Offender Security Level
AA = Alcoholics Anonymous
NA = Narcotics Anonymous
JHS = John Howard Society
BIFA = Black Inmates and Friends
AVP = Alternatives To Violence
CCRA = Corrections and Conditional Release Act (Click to view act)
ISO = Institutional Security Office
Preparing for Parole
THE BASIC BEGINNING
We will break it up into 2 parts:
(1) The Release Plan - which will include only information relevant to your being in the community.
For example where you will live, where you will work, your relapse prevention plan, etc.
(2) Supporting Background Information. - which will include your case management team, your
current security levels, your past employment, etc and so on.
I can assure you the benefits will be significant and well worth your effort. For years people are going
to be or have been closing doors on you - a good release plan will make it harder for those people to
leave the doors locked. Keep focused on the future and remember that with each step of the plan
you will be that much closer to release. Don't let the work put you off nothing worthwhile comes
easy.
This is your job now, no one else will do it for you. Consider this your career and put some effort into
it. Think about it, plan it discuss it with others. Encourage others to do theirs at the same time.
Complete the tasks in stages and soon it will be done.
1.a) Your total reintegration - release plan (RP) should detail the steps that you have taken to get out
of prison and into the community. It is not unreasonable to cover a 10 year period if you are serving a
long sentence or if you are a repeat prisoner. In this way decision makers in the system will see that
you have given your situation serious thought and have begun to move toward a more thoughtful and
responsible place in your life. In any event the RP should include the following:
location for community reintegration, (release)
community supporters, who they are, their roles, expectations and limitations,
relapse and lapse prevention plan,
employment goals & or options
your understanding of your criminal cycles, (what brings you into conflict with the law)
your educational plans, (school, course, cost etc)

important, so you need to put some effort into working with them. If your CMT does not support you
or don't want to work with you need to work even harder to prepare the most comprehensive plan
you can make. The National Parole Board (NPB) will consider the effort and understanding you
demonstrate about your situation.
CMT support generally hinges on public safety concerns as the priority and secondarily what they
think of you in general. CMT support will be withheld if you have not followed your correctional
treatment plan or if you have outstanding programs to complete.
CMT's prefer not to be the supportive decision makers who recommend a prisoners release for a
variety of reasons. CMT's generally prefer to shuffle people down to lower security first and or await
the deadline dates for mandatory release. This is one method some CMT's use to avoid the
professional administration of their jobs and it is unfortunately quite common.
The reality is CMT's are overworked with heavy caseloads and paperwork demands created by a
correctional bureaucracy this in turn creates a climate wherein overworked staff will find the easiest
way to meet statutory obligations. One of the ways that this is done is CMT's recommend prisoners
waive their parole hearings even though it is illegal for a CMT to make that recommendation.
Your release plan can increase your chance of support from both the CMT and the NPB.
2.a) In most cases you will need a Psychiatric Risk Assessment - The CSC will request you take part
in this prior to any release recommendations from them. You can not be forced to participate in such
an assessment, but the reality is that if you do not you will not be supported for release by your CMT
and it will impact National Parole Board (NPB) decisions.
NOTE: If you feel you will not be interviewed fairly by the CSC psychiatrist you can request that an
independent psychiatric assessment be done by a psychiatrist not affiliated with the justice system. If
you can afford it you should also consider some counseling sessions with a psychologist with a view
toward providing a meaningful report concerning the issues you worked through and progress you
made working with the psychologist. It should be noted that CSC and NPB may reject the report from
an independent assessment. Lastly you should be aware that CSC only likes their own
assessments.
3.a) When you're parole eligibility dates approach you may consider the option of hiring a lawyer. If
you have no support from your CMT a lawyer may be what you need at your hearing to keep your
PO and NPB honest and civil. Legal Aid is an option.
4.a) If you have not finished all your recommended programming because your CMT could not or did
not schedule your participation in time for your eligibility dates then you might want to discuss this
with a lawyer. The fact is that your sentence was handed down by a judge and provided parole
eligibility dates that should not be refused because the CSC is not providing programming in a timely
fashion.
NOTE: It appears that CSC is consistently delinquent in providing programming for prisoners prior to
their eligibility dates. So much so that it could be argued that this is a systemic practice designed
specifically to hold prisoners longer.
5.a) If you feel your case is being mishandled by your CMT you will need to request an official review
of your case file by Unit Management. This will consist of a Offender Security Level (OSL) and a
dynamic balance of behavioral progress & time frames for progressive conditional release options. In
a nutshell this means they will review your sentence and the things you have done while inside as
well as what has been recorded about you by staff and when you are eligible for any release
program.
BUILDING A STRATEGY:
Start planning as far in advance as possible. You can never start planning too early, no matter how
long the sentence is. However, it is almost never too late to start, so if you have put it off for a long
time don't worry yourself about it, just get down to the job of working at it now. Never give up or waive
your right to a parole hearing.

Find something that ties into your release prospects and opportunities. It should be thoughtful,
constructive and relevant. In most circumstances except for lifers not eligible for parole the decision
to grant ETA's is the warden's authority. Lifer's applications go before a full blown NPB hearing.
PREPARE A BACKUP PLAN:
In the event that the something falls apart with your original plan you should try to have alternative
options that you are able to add in. You need a plan both for yourself and the National Parole Board
(NPB). Keep your family, friends and community contacts advised as to any developments in your
case or release plan as they are your very important link to the community. Keep them up to date on
the support you need from them.
Always keep photocopies of ALL relevant paper work. File them away - SAFELY ; even send them
home to keep an alternate safeguard file. Keep track of everything you do: courses, programs, work
reports, education evaluations, community supports, visits, relationships, letter writing, projects,
group involvement, etc, and so on. Submit all of your paper work, even if your Institutional Parole
Officer tells you it is not important. You have a responsibility to keep your files and their files up to
date with the information that is relevant to your case. Request that your Institutional Parole Officer &
COII place copies of relevant documentation on your file.
RELEASE / REINTEGRATION PLAN BASIC OUTLINE:
Should include your name and current prison address at the top of the first page and on the bottom
of each following page. I have developed a blank RP Notation Form that you can use to jot down
information and thoughts. You can also use a note pad for rough work but when completed you
should try your best top have it typed for submission presentation purposes.
OBJECTIVE:
Indicate what you are looking for; for instance:
1) To reach the least restrictive security setting;
2) To meet all requirements of the correctional plan;
3) To meet and be prepared for all the requirements of the National Parole Board
in order to be reintegrated into society in a timely and reasonable fashion.
Parole or ETA/UTA applications should include:
Destinations (full names, addresses, phone numbers), and the reasons for Temporary Absence (i.e.
furthering family relations/community support, job interview, half-way house, furthering release plans,
etc.)
DEPORTATION: (If this applies to you)
This only applies to those of us to whom deportation is an issue. The more leg-work you can get
done with regard to returning to your country the better your chances are to be deported. For
instance: Community support, family support, employment, housing, community contacts, job
prospects, education & skills, living arrangements, financial support. Letters from supporters in your
country confirming your stated situation will assist greatly.
HALF-WAY HOUSE:
When requesting residency in a halfway house on a day parole or a UTA you need to provide the
halfway House name, address, phone number, contact name & title, support.
Contact the half-way house by letter and request an application and an interview. Prior to the
interview send them a copy of your release plan. During the interview discuss your goals and ask
them for their advice in improving you RP. Meeting with the house representatives will help them to
put a face to your RP & letters. If they do offer some advice try to incorporate it to your RP and thank
a few days later with a short note. In this way they will be more likely to support you when your
Community Assessment is initiated by your CMT. Keep copies of all letters to the houses and their

change during your incarceration. They might consider including some comments about the
conversations you have shared in regards to your understanding and evolution as a person during
this period of incarceration and maturation.
IMPORTANT NOTE: a letter telling the NPB what a wonderful person you were and still are is not
going to be considered of much value from the NPB's perspective. Significant insight is required.
COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT PLAN:
Include the efforts you have put into securing employment for yourself out there. It may seem like
there are few opportunities for someone in prison to do job search. Some of the methods that you
can use are to ask friends and family if they can help with contacts that they may have. You can also
send letters to Manpower or temporary employment organizations and community support groups
regarding the type of employment opportunities you are looking for or may be available for you. Be
clear about telling them that you are in prison and trying to turn your life around - ask for their
support. DON'T BE DISCOURAGED BY REJECTION LETTERS.
If you already have a line on a job then it is imperative that you get a letter from the employer stating
that they understand your situation and are willing to support you in this area. Describe the
responsibilities of the job and what you feel you bring to the job. 1) Job Title, 2) Organization, 3) City ,
4) name, 5) phone #, 6) address.
It is very important to be able to show the NPB and your CMT that you have been trying.
(Keep copies of all the letters you write and their responses)
EDUCATION GOALS:
Include your diploma, degree or certification goals. You should back this up with some information
on:
a) Available Educational facilities to meet goals (in area(s) of release)
b) Prerequisites
c) Financial costs & support (bursaries, OSAP, scholarships, etc.)
If you plan on pursuing education in the community you should contact the institutional school
guidance counselor and ask for some assistance picking schools in the area you will be released.
Then write to the communities schools guidance counselor to ask about the programs they offer out
there.
Letters from these community schools would be helpful. If you write to them and indicate that you are
interested and wish to inquire about membership, dues, meeting times and location, bus schedules,
etc. This will be very helpful toward demonstrating your sincere desire and interest to the CMT &
NPB. (Keep copies of your letters to them and their responses.)
COMMUNITY SUPPORT GROUPS:
It is important to maintain contact with community groups as they are a recognized link with the
community. When the time comes it will be helpful to have had interaction with community and
institutional in-reach workers. They can contribute in meaningful ways to your RP and eventual
release goals. They have experience with the difficulties facing prisoners upon their release, so take
advantage of their experience and advice. You can never have too much help.
Maintain contact throughout your sentence. PREPARATION IS THE KEY.
FREE TIME:
It is important to include how you plan to spend your free time. Some suggestions would be that you
include positive social activities that will assist you in maintaining a crime free lifestyle. Some
examples would be volunteer work, (Humane society, soup kitchens, etc) joining a health club,
joining community team sports, jogging, hobbies, family time outings (museums, art centers, sporting
events) walking the dog. Getting involved in community college courses in the activity that you enjoy
like painting, carving, leather work, perhaps a gym membership, or joining a cycling club, or a
walking club, tennis club, aerobics, etc. Letters from volunteer organizations, health clubs or gyms
would be helpful. Write to them and indicate you're interest and inquire about membership, dues,

One of the things that contribute to most criminal cycles is the lack of understanding and the lack of
skills or meaningful preparation to deal with the factors that have led us or continue to lead us to
commit crimes. The backslide usually occurs after someone has met with some problems or
continued frustrations in or with relationships, employment, housing or financial status, etc. If the
problem can't be solved adequately the slide begins and all the good intentions won't stop it ~ you
need to have a prevention plan in place.
In these freedom threatening situations it appears that we are looking for some comfort and or
resolution; a reward of sorts and some of us associate good feelings with things such as drugs,
alcohol, quick money, material goods and / or sex.
These are very complex problems that are contributed to by such things as positive memories and
chemical receptors in the brain. I'm not qualified to speak on this topic, but I do know that it takes
awareness, and a lot of will power. You may benefit from counseling and or some other kind of
professional intervention. You need to be in tune with yourself and have considerable understanding
and a well thought out plan.
You should consider finding someone to talk to about what you see as contributing factors to your
offending and develop a coping strategy. Only we can stop the cycle of setting ourselves up to fail.
We need to get in tune with ourselves and understand what our motivators are and develop
comprehensive strategies to deal with those problems. Include your understanding of this in your
release plan.
SUMMARY:
Finally you want to wrap everything up in a few paragraphs. Remember to keep it short and to the
point and with an overall positive flavor.
Write good stuff about yourself, and include your release goals. (Transfer/ release/ ETA / UTA...etc
and so on..or whatever...) Share why you feel you deserve this opportunity. Summarize your
accomplishments, share your personal growth and how it occurred and what changes it has made in
you. What motivated you to change, etc. Include the way you plan to ensure you remain a law
abiding member of the community. Refer to the support you have - the plans and goals you have etc.
STAY REALISTIC AND POSITIVE.
SUPPORTING BACKGROUND DOCUMENTATION:
This section is background information that decision makers will refer to when deciding what direction
they feel your case is going to go. It is a good idea to try and ensure that as much information is on
hand for them. It is in this area that you can also ensure that information that otherwise might not be
readily available for decision makers is at hand.
CASE MANAGEMENT TEAM:
You should indicate who the staff are that are on your CMT.
1) IPO __________
2) CMOII __________
3) Unit Manager __________
ELIGIBILITY DATES:
You should indicate what your eligibility dates are.
Sentence Commence date:
UTA:__________ Day Parole:___________
ETA:__________ Full Parole:___________
Statutory release:__________ Warrant expiry:________
SECURITY LEVELS:

If there are IPSO reports you need to address them in as meaningful a way as is possible. The
problem is that IPSO information is often unsubstantiated allegations received from unspecified
sources. So addressing the information will be very difficult, but you need to put the effort into it. Try
to keep to the facts as you know them, don = t blame and don = t express dissent about the
unreasonableness of the information. Just try to outline the factual problems with the information and
why they shouldn = t impact decisions about you. Try to obtain relevant files & documents.
If it is appropriate try to offer some explanation about the circumstances.
CORRECTIONAL PLAN:
Indicate what you have done to address your Correctional Plan. (This is a plan that Correctional
Workers designed to address what they feel are your problems and how you can address them)
Outline what programs you have finished and or when you will complete the ones outstanding.
Indicate how you are addressing psychological or psychiatric recommendations. If you have been
seeing a counselor, ask for a letter indicating the progress you have been making. If you have made
arrangements to see a counselor upon release, indicate that. Obtain all previous psychological and
psychiatric assessments and see what their recommendations are for you, and indicate how you
have addressed them.
Programs completed:_____________
Programs required before transfer:______________
Programs required before release to community:______________
Programs required while in community:_______________
Psychology recommendations: ______________________
CYCLE OF OFFENSE(S):
Clearly indicate your understanding of your offense(s) how and why it happened; after all if you don't
understand it, how can you address it? Take the time to explain the feelings around the remorse you
feel. Address the issues which led to current & previous offense(s), i.e. substance abuse, emotional
problems, criminal thinking, poor use of free time, few job skills or low education...etc.
NOTE: This requires sincere reflection on your part. Your understanding will make a difference. I
have been doing a lot of work with guys inside over the years and a recurrent difficulty is when it
comes to expressing our understanding about how we ended up in trouble. This may be due in part
to personal self preservation, prison is not a place that encourages or rewards self reflection, most of
us are simply trying to survive the experience. The fact is that after a year or so in any prison people
come to feel themselves the victim. This perspective is valid in the sense that prison does victimize
people in many ways, however for our purpose you need to step away from your own feelings of
victimization and look at how your behavior has victimized others.
You should not spend any of this time blaming others for your situation. When you feel ready, it
would be a good idea to have someone ask you questions about your crime(s) and how you feel
about it, and what you think the effect was on the victim(s) and the community. You should consider
answering the question: why should we (NPB) let you out? There is a list of questions at the back of
this book that will give you an idea about what to expect and will help your assistant in formulating
questions. If you can, it would be a great idea to record the questions and the answers and listen to
yourself and how you answer.
HOBBIES AND FREE TIME:
Spend some time detailing what you do in your free time and how you plan to keep doing positive
recreational activities.
VOLUNTEER WORK:
It would be worthwhile to keep a record of any of the voluntary work you do during your incarceration.
This could include helping the inmate committee to run sports events, or social activities. It could also
include assisting outside agencies who organize events or seminars in the prison. For instance;
Lifeline or John Howard Society, PASAN or Universities, etc. It could also include fund-raising work
through hobby craft or donations. You should consider requesting letters of acknowledgment for your

these community organizations would be helpful. If you write to them and indicate that you are
interested and wish to inquire about membership, dues, meeting times and location, etc. This would
be helpful toward demonstrating your sincere desire and interest to the CMT & NPB.
(Keep copies of your letters to them and their responses.)
EDUCATION:
Detail what grade or level you have acquired and what you have done to upgrade while in prison.
School Name___________Highest level completed:_________ Year:____________
SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS:
A lot of times when I come to this section people inside find it difficult to think of themselves as
having skills. (I'm not referring to the people who may have something like their mechanics license,
Ph.D., welding ticket, or barbering ticket) I am speaking about those of us who have never had the
opportunity to develop a recognized career. As a result we often downplay our experiences because
we feel that if we don't have license in some field that means we are not qualified. I want to say that it
may mean we are not recognized experts, but we do have valuable experience .
Approach the task of filling this section out with a review of ALL the things you have done both inside
and out. If you worked for a while roofing write it down and under it try to remember all the different
things you did and learnt while doing that. If you worked on a farm or an auto body shop write it down
and underneath indicate all the things you learnt and did. If you worked in the kitchen or the paint
shop or the wood shop in the prison this counts as experience. If you were a cleaner on the range or
whatever jobs you have done - document the experience and introduce it on your behalf in your RP.
1) Recognized training,
2) Diplomas & degrees,
3) Experience,
4) Personal acquisition of skills >> for example, computers, tools, mechanics, health, cleaning,
education, photography, art, cooking, music fitness >> whatever.
EMPLOYMENT IN PRISON:
Write down what jobs you did while inside and include:
1) Job Title, 2) Years Employed, 3) Shop Name, 4) Institution
Describe what your responsibilities were and if appropriate what you accomplished. It would be a
good idea to request a letter from the supervisor indicating what you were like to work with.
Sometimes staff don't like to write good things about prisoners (apparently it can be frowned upon by
other staff). My suggestion is that you approach it with some sensitivity. Perhaps explain the things
you have been doing regarding your RP and engage them in dialogue about it. Ask for advice and
when you feel they would be receptive ask them if they would write a letter on your behalf.
If they won't do this for you it will be necessary to consider the next best course of action. Positive
work evaluations speak for themselves and that may be the best you can hope for. Writing letters or
complaints will probably damage your status in the work place. So do some careful thought before
you complain about the lack of support. Sometimes a supervisor may be willing to provide a verbal
reference. Ask them what they would say or ask them to focus on your particular skills that will be
relevant to the new job.
PAST EMPLOYMENT IN COMMUNITY:
Write down the kind of job(s) you had out there: 1) Job Title, 2) Year, 3) Company, 4) City, 5) Contact
name, 6) Phone # , 7) Address
Consider describing your past responsibilities and accomplishments. You might even consider writing
to your ex-boss (s) and explain where you are and what you are doing and ask for a letter of
support.
I again underline the fact that you need to come up with the most comprehensive Release ~
Reintegration Plan that you can - the more leg work you do the more bases you cover the better your

can not assess the risk you present because of missing information there will be delays in your
hearing. This could mean they feel you A self reported @ too much (without back up proof) or your
release plan is not as complete as they feel it should be. i.e. missing information such as
confirmation of accommodation or your CMT hasn = t provided an adequate community assessment.
The NPB will then either direct the CSC to provide the information before their decision is rendered
or postpone the hearing/review or adjourn the review if the information will be available within two
months, or deny the application and tell the CSC and you that your case will be reconsidered after
the needed information is received.
PROGRESS SUMMARY REPORT:
This is a 7 page document produced by your Institutional Parole Officer and generally relies on all the
negative milestones and aspects about you & your case. Under Section 24 of the CCRA you are able
to file an attempt to correct erroneous material within this (AND ANY) report. When you do try to
correct information you should;
Try to provide accurate and positive information.
Try to correct false information. i.e; unfair information, inaccurate information, incidents that you were
not charged with, charges you were found NOT GUILTY of, unreliable information.
NOTE: you are entitled to place your version of the event in writing in the CSC & NPB files, but you
should be very clear and concise - as hard as it may be, resist the tendency to be petty or negative
when placing rebuttals to file information. If they refuse to correct or post your version of events you
need to complain to the Privacy Commissioner.
Ask someone who is knowledgeable and willing to help if you need it, but remember stay positive
and polite in whatever written & verbal interaction you have. Remind your P.O. and the NPB (if you
are a Lifer) that Lifer's have the lowest rate of recidivism.
BEFORE YOUR PAROLE HEARING:
Send a letter to the National Parole Board asking if there is any CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
being used at your hearing.
Under the Golf vs NPB judicial decision you are entitled to disclosure. If they are holding back
information they must give it up on your request. If they do not provide you with it you can bring the
issue to Federal Court. In the end the information usually comes from the Institutional Security Office
(ISO) and they are notorious for collecting and using unsubstantiated intelligence information to a
prisoners detriment. Even requests for disclosure end up as a Gist and it is usually unsubstantial and
vague.
DISCLOSURE:
Get a copy of your Parole Board File. This file is more important than your CSC files. Ask for full
disclosure under section 141 of the CCRA. See your committee / legal clerk / librarian for direction on
applying for your files. Get your CSC files and your NPB file - here are some bank numbers:
PRIVACY ACT FILES:
Case Management CSC-PPU 042
CSC PPU 040
CSC PPU 030
CSC PPU 035
Discipline & Dissociation CSC PPU 045
Offender information CSC P-PU-115
Employment CSC PPU055
Education & training CSC PPU 050
Psychology CSC PPU 070
Sentence Administration CSC PPU 075
Parole case file NPB PPU 005

receipt!
PLANNING AHEAD
YOU WILL NEED THE FOLLOWING:
Residence (Halfway house)
1) Residence: Private home placement is a possibility. Consider dialoging with someone in the
community and ask if they will turn their house into a halfway house for you - obviously you would
have to provide them with full access to your case files, criminal history and the rules of half way
houses so they can make an informed decision. This is utilized a lot in Quebec. Try it here in Ontario!
note: It cannot be a family member.
2) A job or job training prospects.
3) Community support, in the form of letters - from potential employers, educators, chaplains,
program facilitators, counselors, etc. Letters from family members who detail the changes in you.
4) Get Parole Board tapes and watch them, or listen to them. You should also watch the TV shows
about parole boards even if the show is from a different country. The interaction is what you should
be looking for and try putting yourself in their spot as board members and ask yourself: has this
person changed? are they a good risk? would I let that person out?
Try and learn from that experience because someone will be asking that question about you.
If you can set up a mock parole hearing where people can grill you about your case this would be
very helpful to you. If you have never been to a hearing see if a friend can get copies you can watch
or listen to. You can ask for these tapes from the National Parole Board under the PRIVACY ACT. It
can help:
calm you down before a hearing,
prepare you before a hearing,
you to not lose control during a hearing,
If you are serving a definite sentence you will be seen by a two person panel.
If you are serving a life sentence, you will be reviewed by a three person panel.
One of the Board Members will often be the attacker. They will disconcert you and try to rile you up don't let them. It is not personal they are trying to evaluate whether you are safe to be out in the
community. How you deal with problems, what happens when the sailing gets rough. They need to
know these things and they may feel the need to gauge you in this regard.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTERS:
Invite as many as will come. This type of visible community support is very valuable. But make sure
you don't have a circus! Your people should present themselves well both in appearance and
attitude. (Use common sense; Don't invite street buddies with criminal records, etc.)
EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY SUPPORT LETTERS:
A person (family, friend, volunteer) who wishes to support you can do so by writing a letter that
includes;
Who they are,
How long they have known you,
What understanding they have of your crimes and the troubles that led to them,
What support they have offered while you have been inside, (i.e.: letters, visits, phone calls emotional support and encouragement)
What changes they have seen in you, (i.e.: personal growth, insight into your problems,
commitment to change)
What support they are willing and able to offer you upon your release, (i.e.: Emotional support,
financial support, employment, housing, transportation, assistance with finding employment,
assistance with finding and or attending counseling)
a personal endorsement regarding their opinion of, and commitment to you.

Aboriginals may have Elder assisted hearings.


The NPB must allow them to talk according to law.
It is discretionary whether they listen to a third party.
THEY MUST LISTEN TO YOUR PAROLE ASSISTANT.
If there is a legal problem you might consider getting a lawyer.
Remember that victims may be present at your hearing. They may be allowed to speak at your
hearing, and they are also allowed to send letters to the NPB.
NPB HEARING EXHIBITS:
Most board members have not seen what you have done while inside. Save all documents and
papers that confirm your positive activities while under sentence. Send photocopies of exhibits to the
NPB members. Send these documents out as early as possible. AT THE VERY LEAST A WEEK
BEFORE YOUR HEARING, BUT MUCH SOONER IF POSSIBLE! Bring copies of your exhibits with
you, they can help pull your thoughts together and;
Show that you are organized.
Show that you can accomplish positive things.
Help to calm you down.
PREPARING TO SPEAK TO THE NPB:
Because you want to introduce yourself and your case in the best possible light you should put
considerable effort into crafting an informative, yet brief introduction. The more personal and honest
this sharing is the better. Obviously you don't want to come off as a slick and polished con man
either. Unfortunately, for most people a parole hearing is a very stressful experience, and stress can
become a formidable goal crushing enemy that prevents one from making our best possible
presentation.
PREPARING YOUR OPENING STATEMENT.
To be as effective as possible when you present yourself to the board, you should be sure that your
statement is well structured. I know that most of us are not speech writers and this is a daunting task.
However, if you follow this 3 step plan you can be more effective.
1) First, write the speeches conclusion and include a powerful & positive message.
2) Second, put together the body of the statement, including facts.
3) Finally, devise an introduction that will get the boards attention.
Now practice it until you feel comfortable speaking it >>NOT READING IT!!
The NPB must look forward to meeting someone who is putting their best effort into receiving parole
and being a successful person upon release. So try to bring a positive attitude with you into the
hearing, this will help to promote an image of energy and commitment. Here are a few tips that may
help you in the hearing:
Pay attention to your body language. Try not to tap your toes / feet or fiddle with your fingers or a
pen - if you notice yourself doing so, try to stop, and if it is appropriate explain the tapping or fidgeting
as a reaction to your nervousness at being before the board. (It is, after all, natural to be nervous on
such an important day)
Never criticize the NPB, the CSC or individuals in the NPB or CSC or any part of the justice system.
If you need to impart some information that points towards someone having handled something in
your case improperly (or whatever) do so without any derogatory comments or personal slurs.
Learn to accept criticism as gracefully as possible. If something comes up in the hearing that
sounds critical of you, accept it with thanks. You could even indicate that you will consider the insight
and feel that it is helpful advice that will be useful in the future.
Keep a positive attitude about the hearing and your future from the beginning to the end. You will
have some control over maintaining the positive atmosphere. Even when you are asked to explain a
failure, weakness, risk factor, or negative experience you can always finish your answer on a positive
note by sharing the lesson you learnt and or strategies you now have to improve on such situations.
Maintain an attitude of tolerance, willingness and flexibility. Remain open to accepting and
participating in the process as it develops.
If you are asked a question rudely you need to assume the question was accidently phrased poorly.
Put your negative reaction aside and try to focus on the question.
Think of the interview as a conversation, not an interrogation. Introduce yourself in a relaxed,

plans) you are putting in place to ensure that you do not fall back into the same cycle of behaviors &
circumstances that contributed to your conviction. You might consider sharing your aspirations &
ambitions as well as briefly touching on how you intend to accomplish them.
Remember that in essence you are demonstrating that as a fellow human being who has made
mistakes you are working hard at changing the direction of your life. Express that you are honestly
trying to move forward and are asking for their recognition and support of your efforts. You need to
try and warm the relationship between the board members and yourself. However giving them too
much information may only confuse issues so remember to stay brief as well as informative. Keep it
short, as well as complete. Sometimes speaking can be more effective if you stick to 3 or 4 main
points and emphasize them with examples, anecdotes or brief stories. (For instance indicate what
you learnt from the anger management courses by illustrating how you used to feel and react to
problems and how you manage them now with your new skills and understanding)
A couple of suggestions for formulating your statement:
Emphasize your strong points.
Acknowledge and own your mistakes.
Let the board get to know you (the real you - not the file you).
Properly prepare yourself - it will show if you haven't.
Practice speaking clearly and audibly.
Have an opening, middle and conclusion.
Once you have organized your thoughts and compiled the information you wish to share in the
statement you need to practice it as if you were speaking to friends. When you feel ready you should
to practice your statement with a friend or with any one who will listen and give credible feedback.
A tried and true method of speech writing is to work it all out in full, then break it down into sections,
with a key word for each section. Then write out the key words on the 3x5" cards. Try not to just read
your opening statement from notes. You can refer to the notes but DO NOT read it all out and then
sit down.
Practice the speech and SPEAK TO THEM. During the speech you should look them in the eye,
move from board member to board member and try to ensure that you have eye contact at least
several times. Maintain soft eye contact (Don't glare) and try to remain pleasant; you need to
represent yourself well at this hearing.
Practice will help prepare you for the incredibly hard job of presenting yourself to a critical audience!
If you have a tape recorder at your disposal you should record your statements and play them back
and look for weaknesses and places you can improve. The following are a couple more brief tips on
presenting yourself well.
Begin by facing the board and taking a deep breathe then saying something like: Hello, my name is
______and I would like to thank the board for allowing me this opportunity to present my case.
While you are saying this you need to look directly at one member of the board and maintain eye
contact for a few seconds then looking at another so no one feels left out of your talk.
Be well groomed and dressed appropriately (First impressions count!).
Memorize the points.
Maintain some soft eye contact (don't angrily glare).
Share significant personal awakenings and experiences that generated change in you.
Focus on the positives in your case but always be realistic.
Speak clearly and with enough volume to be heard.
Keep it personal.
DO NOT BLAME OTHERS. Never blame others.
Relax! Nervousness is normal.
It is truly the sign of a matured person who does not spend their time looking back and assigning
blame. Whenever we look back and blame others we are focusing on the negative and nothing good
can come of it. You need to look forward toward your future, yes things have not gone well in the
past but the mature person will look at that, learn from it and say: I need to move forward.
During the hearing you can count on being asked open ended questions that begin with something
like Tell us about a time . . . or describe one of your experiences . . . . Some people recommend that

and then make your presentation to the Board. You can do it! Just practice it and then speak to them.
Like you they are human beings and realize how difficult this is for you. The effort you put into
helping yourself will be seen and most likely taken into consideration. Focus on the positives. The
hearing may have been tough and they focused on a lot of negative stuff. This is natural and you
need to recognize that they have a job to do and that their concerns are real. You need to be able to
look at your case realistically and learn to respond in a positive fashion. Put emphasis on turning
strikes against you into positive learning and growing experiences. For example; As a result of your
crime / offence / personal trauma's / life experiences, etc, you have learnt from it, grown and gained
insights. Share some of the personal growth and insights that have come from self reflection,
maturation and the time spent inside.
Thank them for considering your presentation.
HOW TO HANDLE AN AGGRESSIVE NPB MEMBER:
You must be prepared for this eventuality. This can not be stressed enough. The NPB has a
mandate to evaluate your ability to deal with difficulties, set backs and disappointment. They want to
know how effective your coping strategies are. Some suggestions to slow the hearing are:
Asking for a drink of water.
Asking for a moment to speak to your assistant.
Asking for a moment to write down your thoughts. (Bring pen & paper)
There is no place for you to lose it so Stay calm no matter how poorly things go for you.
They will try to bait you. This is a method of detecting weaknesses in your anger management and to
test what you have really learnt. This is no trick it is a tried and true method of ascertaining your level
of self control. Don't allow the weight of the hearing to throw you off balance. Stay calm and stay
rational and demonstrate your ability to negotiate rough waters. If it gets too rough, you can
pleasantly say you don't mean to be rude, but would like to know why they are being so aggressive
towards you. Your assistant can ask why they are being so insulting or harassing, etc. In this type of
atmosphere you might consider not giving really long explanations or answers as:
You may only end up giving more ammunition to the Attacker.
Yes and no answers might be appropriate.
You need to remain helpful and thoughtful during this process no matter how hard it is on you.
Your Parole Assistant can also run interference i.e.; I need a moment to confer with my client.
If you have an attorney present the NPB is less likely to go into Attack Mode.
REGARDING NPB APPLICATIONS & HEARINGS:
NEVER waive your opportunity for a hearing unless you are completely unprepared and feel you
can't make a good presentation. This holds true even if your P.O. is not supporting you or is trying to
discourage you. Take the opportunity to have a hearing even if it only helps you determine what you
should do in the next two years to prepare for your next hearing.
Do Not Waive Your Right to a parole hearing due to a transfer application because they are two
separate issues.
The parole hearing is under the National Parole Board .
The transfer application is under the Correctional Services of Canada .
If you have already waived your hearing and you have a well prepared release plan then you should
immediately write to your Institutional PO and to the NPB rescinding (taking back) your cancellation
of hearing.
If a Community Strategy (assessment) is refused;
Ask for a 90 day adjournment.
Ask for a pass to go to a halfway house for an assessment.
If you have been denied access to a program not offered at your institution ask to have it taken out of
your Correctional Plan - In writing.
If some information is unknown to you and is in your Intelligence Security Office file (ISO file) ask for
an adjournment. NOTE; This information is required to be shared under the Golf vs. NPB court
ruling.

What are your options?


What makes you think you can cope in the community?
Where do you plan to live?
What will you do if you are not allowed to go back to your hometown?
What is a halfway house going to do for you?
Why did you pick the halfway house you picked?
Can you explain your institutional charges?
What programs have you taken?
How did these programs benefit you?
How do you apply what you learnt in programs?
Did you learn anything about yourself by being in an institution?
Do you consider yourself a criminal? (Are you proud of it?)
How do you think your victims feel about your offence?
What have you done to address the need areas in your correctional plan?
What would you do if the same situation occurred again?
Have you addressed the issues that caused you to offend?
Do you think the sentence you received fits your crime ?
You need to take the time to think about these questions and consider your answers. It is very
important that you not only think about them in the interest of answering the Parole Board, but more
importantly think about them for yourself. How have you addressed the issues in your life? Are you
okay with how things are going in your life? Are you committed to staying out of prison and how are
you going to do it? Really take the time to reevaluate your world and how you are approaching it.
IF PAROLE IS DENIED:
ABOVE ALL STAY CALM;
Tell them you are very disappointed but would like to know;
1. What you can do to meet their expectations?
2. What would they like to see you accomplish?
3. What do they feel you are doing wrong?
4. What do they feel you have done right?
You have to role with the punches and use the set back to re-evaluate your situation and reapproach the problem equipped with the valuable information that they (NPB) will provide you in the
body of their decision paper - Don't get angry! Perhaps they felt you haven't changed or didn't learn
enough from your programs or had too many institutional charges.
There is an old saying: If at first you do not succeed, try, try again. There is no room to give up at this
juncture of your life so pick up and keep moving forward. Keep your thinking healthy.
You have to approach the problem methodically. Begin by reviewing their concerns with a friend who
will be honest. You should also self evaluate your case. If the NPB have a point you need to reflect
upon it honestly with yourself.
However whether you feel they have a point or not you now have the task of documenting &
demonstrating how you have changed. Perhaps you will need to review your program books and go
over and over it until you learn and understand it completely. With regard to programs if you can't
answer basic questions about what you learnt in a program and how you use it in your life then they
have a point. You simply must be able to intelligently discuss the program content so do not take the
programs lightly. You can never refresh your memory enough in regard to these programs. If you
have had too many institutional charges then you are going to have to review why this is happening
and whether or how you can change this factor. Pay attention to what you are doing and how you are
being perceived by others, especially staff.
APPEAL THE DECISION - 2% - 3% prisoners win appeals.
GROUNDS FOR APPEAL: NPB neglected to observe principles of fundamental justice :
This includes any concerns regarding the fairness of the NPB procedures. For example; whether the
NPB properly shared information that they relied upon. Whether the right to an assistant was
respected. Whether the choice of official language was respected. Be specific as to how the Board
did not respect the duty to be fair.

not making decisions that the law said it could make. In addition, it involves any complaint that the
NPB decision is TOTALLY unreasonable or unsupported by the information available.
Again, it is important to state precisely what the error was. If you are arguing that the decision is
TOTALLY unreasonable, you must explain and document why the Board members conclusions are
unfounded.
THE ROLE OF THE NPB APPEAL DIVISION:
The NPB Appeal Division is supposed to ensure that the law & NPB policies are followed, and that
the rules of fundamental justice are followed, and that NPB decisions are based on relevant and
reliable information. They review the decision making process to confirm that it was fair and that
procedural safeguards were respected.
As a result of CSC's bureaucratic predisposition toward unfairly reviewing issues internally (or
actively ignoring them) you will have need of outside help. If this is your case, the following directions
will help your wife, family and or friends effectively support you.
I wish you and your family & friends good luck.