Corrections - Victims at Parole Hearings Policy

Policies and Guidelines

Victims at Parole Hearings

The following information is a summary of Correctional Services’ policy for victims at parole hearings.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) and the Ontario Parole Board (OPB) allow identified victims of crime to attend the parole hearings of the inmates who victimized them. Victims are allowed to view the proceeding, make submissions and be present when the inmate is advised of the OPB’s decision on whether to grant parole.

For more information on making a submission to the OPB, please visit the OPB website.

Support Person

Victims are encouraged to bring a support person with them. The victim support person can only accompany and provide support to the victim. A victim support person is not permitted to take part in the proceedings without the approval of the OPB, and only under special circumstances.

Institution Employees

The institution superintendent, or a designated individual from the institution where the inmate is serving their sentence, will ensure that all employees who will have contact with the victim and victim’s support person are reminded that these individuals may be experiencing anxiety or other emotional responses and that sensitivity is required.

The superintendent or designated individual will ensure that the inmate is advised of the victim’s expected attendance at the hearing, as well as the victim’s role at the hearing as soon as is practical.

Arrival

Upon arriving at the institution for a parole hearing, the victim and victim support person are required to produce two pieces of personal identification one of which must contain a home address and/or photograph.

The superintendent or designated individual will provide the victim and victim support person an escort to the hearing room. Victims and victim support persons are not to enter any location in the institution except the hearing room, waiting area and public washrooms, unless accompanied by an escort.

Searches

Victims and victim support persons will not be subject to frisk searches. However, searches of victims and victim support persons will be conducted using metal detectors, x-ray equipment (if available) and/or by visually inspecting the contents of purses, bags and packages. They may also be asked to empty the contents of their pockets and deposit coats, purses, bags and packages in secure lockers before entering the hearing room.

If a victim or victim support person refuses a search, or there is a concern that cannot be resolved, the victim and victim support person may be denied entry into the institution at the discretion of the operating manager, in consultation with the superintendent or designated individual.

OPB Hearing Lead

The OPB Hearing Lead is responsible for maintaining control over the fairness and orderly conduct of parole hearings. The Hearing Lead may interrupt the proceedings in order to re-establish order and may request that participants leave the hearing room before proceeding with the hearing.