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The Cost and Controversy of a Pardon

The Cost

An individual can apply for a pardon with the Parole Board of Canada (a federal agency responsible for making pardon decisions under the Criminal Records Act (CRA)) by filling out a tedious amount of application forms which are available from the Parole Board. The pardon application fee is $ 50.00. On top of the application fee there are other associated costs such as fingerprinting fees, search fees, local police record check fees and court information search fees. The total cost for a pardon can amount to approximately $ 150.00 and up depending on the number and type of convictions the individual has. For the process to be carried out smoothly, all required documentation must be collected and submitted prior to the documents’ expiration date; this can be a difficult task to coordinate.

The National Parole Board wants to triple the cost of a pardon, increasing the cost from $ 50.00 to $ 150.00 plus all associated costs. The fee was last changed in the mid 1990’s and it is no longer covering the administrative costs, therefore diverting money from other NPB resources. It was recently addressed to the Senate committee that there is a need to hike the fees sometime this fall or winter. At this time it appears that a vast majority of pardon applications being processed are granted, yet the costs associated with processing these pardons has increased. The processing costs have increased due to economic factors such as inflation. The volume of pardon applications has also increased in the last three years. The increase in demand derives from the scrutiny placed on an individual’s past when: applying for jobs, securing a loan, volunteering, getting certain certifications and furthering one’s education. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Federal government is funding this organization with taxpayers’ money. In order for the PBC to operate at a self- sustaining level the price of pardons will have to increase.

The Controversy

A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it. The function of a pardon is to separate judicial records of convictions from other criminal records. This gives law-abiding citizens the opportunity to reintegrate into Canadian society. Under the CRA, when a pardon is given, it removes all information about the conviction from the Canadian Police Information Centre. This is the active police database which holds all files of those who have a criminal record. However, a pardon does not erase the fact that an individual was convicted of a crime; it simply “vaults” the record/information in an inaccessible database. If a pardoned individual is convicted of a new offence, this information may result in the reactivation of their criminal record in the CPIC, which may lead to their pardon being revoked.

One of the most controversial factors regarding the pardon process in Canada is that an individual may or may not be eligible. The dependent variables for the pardon being granted are solely based on eligibility. Once an individual has demonstrated that they have fulfilled their debt to society or are considered “deserving” of a pardon by the PBC they may apply.

The PBC considers an individual eligible for a pardon if:
• They were convicted of a criminal or federal offence in Canada as an adult.
• They were convicted of a crime in another country and were transferred to Canada under the Transfer of Offenders Act, or The International Transfer of Offenders Act.
• They have paid all related costs associated with their crime(s).
• They have served all time associated with their crime(s).
• They have completed their probation order.
• They have completed the appropriate waiting period associated with their crime(s).

The Parole Board of Canada has been the victim of some serious criticism in the past year after Karla Homolka’s pardon application was made public and, most recently, the case of Graham James, the former high-profile hockey coach who was convicted of 350 cases of sexual assault against Sheldon Kennedy, a former NHL player. James received a pardon in 2007 for the crimes, yet it only came to light earlier this year (2010).

There must be a better answer, in order to prevent things like this from happening. For example, each case should be reviewed individually. An individual may have completed their sentence and paid their dues, but this does not necessarily mean that that person is reformed or worthy of a pardon. Furthermore, victims of the crime should have a say or at least be informed when the individual is applying for a pardon or when granted. For example when the media reported Graham James received a pardon in 2007 for 350 sexual assault charges in 1996. This is now under investigation and potentially being revoked due to recent allegations from other victims. The public was outraged to hear that man with such a record is even eligible.

When these issues are taken into consideration there is no doubt that some type administrative change is necessary. If the PBC continues to operate at inefficient levels, scarce resources will be misallocated further from more important bureaus.

Matt Koston is interested in legal knowledge, discovering new opinions and sharing his knowledge. He is an author specializing in information regarding pardons and criminal law. He is always trying to understand the big picture.

Article Source:

Amnesty International with many partners, joined for a press conference on at 10 AM on Thursday, Sept. 15 to deliver petitions containing signatures of well over half a million people signing on behalf of Troy Davis. Petitions were delivered in multiple boxes to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole which has final say decides in cases for the State of Georgia (not the governor). Tomorrow, Sept. 16th, a March will proceed at 6PM from Woodruff Park to a 7PM Prayer service Ebenezer Church on behalf of Troy Davis.

Question by jaynsa: How would someone protest a prisoners release to the parole and pardons board?
How would I find out if someone opposes a family member’s release from prison?

Best answer:

Answer by Meathook
They protest in writing or in person at the parole hearing.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!
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ATLANTA — Faced with rising prison costs, Georgia corrections officials are releasing a growing number of sick and elderly inmates to save millions of dollars in …
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Strange days in Tallahassee Florida. Ex FSU student Clemency Board Pardon from 1969 conviction. Rockin Roll Trivia.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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12 Responses to “The Cost and Controversy of a Pardon”

  • LetTroyADavisGo:

    Yes Stop this madness of trying and waning to  EXECUTE TROY ANTHONY DAVIS!! TROY IS THE ONE WHO IS INNOCENT!!!!!

  • ErikD71:

    Dakota, it seems this guy just has a bias toward guys who are on drugs. Hes against the lifestyle. He drove all that way just to stick it to Jim. Whats sad is that this guy is a babyboomer from the hippy era, and to use the old cliche, he became just like his parents. My father was a hippe and a liberal, a big fan of Hendrix, now all he does his call obama the N Word and talk about how Great George W. Bush was lol.

  • ErikD71:

    this guy acts like Jim Morrison killed someone in his family for godsake,lol.

  • ErikD71:

    Theodore Seaman would neevr tell a lie LOL Hes like superman he always tells the truth LOL, This guy is such a jerk off.

  • vomit49894:

    DUDE!  that made me laugh!

  • voodooblacksabbath:

    Clarence Dixon. Ted Seamons. HAHAHAHA. Dicks and semens were offended by Jim Morrison’s penis.

  • dakota23750:

    IDIOT………………..THANK GOD FOR THE GOVENOR….i’m in pain and i have a long way home with no pain pills….stupid stupid ass

  • panikdrumrguy:

    Thepolice felt threatened by morrison so they would lie. And only a few people know the real reason jim died. He said she said blah blah. The government is the true enemy here, drugs didnt kill jim the sad world he and we now live in drove him to his grave wheter he was murdered or just died. I mean knowing any day bombs and war are possible, who wants to witness that not me.

  • NathFilms:

    cant wait for part 3, this has been rather entertaining and interesting. thanks

  • NathFilms:

    everyone was taking and opening there minds up, actors and musicans now days r everywhere on drugs there videos and pics all over the place, he used his drug use 4 expanding his mind, hes not a drug addict, an alcoholic yes, but not a drug addict

  • NathFilms:

    he didnt even know the guy until 2 years after jim had even passed, theres crooked cops everywhere, lying under oath isnt much of a big deal. its not like there was even pictures or vids of jim actually taking drugs, there was only vids an pics of jim drunk, i mean it was the 60’s when he was into drugs LSD wasnt even illegel back in the day,

  • eawolfpack04:

    they would call or write to the commission that governs parole. You can call them and possibly see if anyone has made protests.

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