Lesson 12: The Corrections System

Topic 5: Conditional Release Programs

British Colombia Programs


A prisoner can apply for a temporary absence from prison, a day parole, or full parole.

The director of the jail may grant a prisoner a temporary absence, escorted or unescorted, for an acceptable reason such as attending a family funeral or having an operation.

Some inmates may be granted day parole before they are considered for full parole. They are allowed to work or study in the community during the day and return to prison each night. Day parole is rarely used in the provincial system.

Most inmates apply for full parole. Granted by the BC Parole Board, it is the prisoner’s best hope for early release. Inmates are eligible for parole after serving one-third of their sentence, but relatively few are released that soon.

Full parole allows an inmate to serve the remainder of a sentence at his or her home in the community. The inmate is subject to the conditions requiring good behaviour and regular reporting to a probation officer. Special conditions, such as participating in a treatment or education program or finding and keeping a job, may also be imposed.

Parolees who violate the conditions of their parole may return to prison to serve out their sentences.

BC is one of three provinces with its own Provincial parole Board. The other provinces rely on the National Parole Board to consider both provincial and federal prisoners for conditional release

Federal Programs


The federal conditional release programs are similar to the provincial programs. A prisoner in a penitentiary can apply for temporary absence, day parole, or full parole. The Federal Parole Board grants parole. The time may be defined by the sentencing judge, for example, in a case of homicide: otherwise, consideration for parole is given after one-third of the sentence is served.

Mandatory Supervision

After earning time off for good behavior and serving at least 2/3 of their sentence almost all federal prisoners are eligible for release. This is called mandatory supervision and it allows time for them to begin reintegration into society while being supervised by federal parole officers. Certain dangerous offenders are not eligible. Unlike parole it is not a discretionary decision of the board.