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Procedural Safeguards and the National Parole Board

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology Volume: 26 Issue: 3 Dated: (July 1984) Pages: 325-341
H R Johnson
Date Published
17 pages
Four procedural safeguards pertaining to Canada's National Parole Board are reviewed: (1) the right to a hearing, (2) to be represented by counsel, (3) to access to relevant information, and (4) to reasons for decision. For each right there is a brief historical survey, a statement of the current legal position, and comments on the prevailing practice as described by participants in the criminal justice process.
The right to a hearing has been interpreted as meaning a person is entitled to make representation with respect to his application for parole or as to the reasons why his parole should not be revoked. The Board does not have to hear oral arguments on behalf of inmates, but is at liberty to grant such hearings. Access to information means that the Board must provide inmates with all relevant information in its possession except for material covered in the Privacy Act. The Board is required to provide all the reasons for its decisions to deny or revoke parole or mandate supervision. While the quantity and quality of safeguards for prisoners have increased dramatically, serious flaws remain. The rules regarding the nature of the hearing and the counsel's role are not wide enough. The Board resists innovation and fears entering into a court-like, adversarial role. Thirty-eight references are appended.


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