In Brief

In Brief:

  • 6014 Fred Sutherland (ret) presented with 4th clasp

  • Class of 59 Reunion Details

  • Making parole decisions is one tough job

MORE…

6014 Lieutenant-General Fred Sutherland (ret) presented with 4th clasp

Lieutenant-General 6014 Fred Sutherland (ret) was presented with the 4th clasp to his CD for 52 years of service to the RCAF / CAF by 13551 LGen Guy Thibault, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

The presentation took place at the CFC Graduation/Convocation – 21st June.

Fred entered CMR in 1959 and is well remembered from his RMC days as a star on both the football and hockey Redmen teams during the Danny McLeod era; he went on to a distinguished air force career.

He is currently Chairman, RMCC Board of Governors.

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Class of 59 Reunion Details

Fri 23 Sept

Register lobby of Donald Gordon Centre (DGC) from 1500hrs

Meet and greet – 1730-1830 DGC pub cash bar

Buffet supper DGC 1830 followed by drinks in the pub (cash bar).

Sat 24 Sept

College Badging parade on parade square

Lunch Gail and Ed’s after parade

Rest of p.m follow cadet activities or free time

Evening Old Brigade Dinner if attending – purchase tickets from the Panet House – (Mary Darlington – 613 541-6000 x 6806 (Tickets are limited, so order well in advance)

Sun 25 Sept

March to the Arch (Meet in front of Panet House – No later Than – 1015

Lunch Senior Staff Mess – purchase tickets from Panet House (Mary Darlington – 613 541-6000 x 6806 (Tickets are limited, so order well in advance)

Home again home again and see you in 3 years

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Making parole decisions is one tough job

Truthfully, I wasn’t sure if I could do it. How would I react to spending hours with offenders, studying crimes associated with their miscreance, reviewing the consequences of their villainy? So, before I applied to join the Parole Board of Canada, I asked to observe hearings.

I was invited to check into Kingston’s Collin’s Bay Institution. Knowing I would get out later that day helped. The Board Members I met were professional, directing me to a corner from where I could watch everything, just one of the flies on the wall.

The offender was brought in. He obviously wanted to speak. As the hearing officer began reciting procedural instructions, the prisoner stood up and invited his interlocutors, using a phrase starting with the 4th consonant and ending with the word Off! – to do so, ending this hearing. I thought: “I can do this.”

I was wrong. Months passed before I appreciated how demanding a Member’s role is.

First I had to divest myself of sentiments most citizens share. A law-abiding person encountering prison subculture knows every offender has been convicted. So determining whether someone has earned parole seems simple. They’re bad guys. You’re not. It’s their case to make. Actually it’s nowhere near that artless.

Most offenders will, by law, be released after serving 2/3rds of their prescribed sentences. That’s called Statutory Release. To be paroled earlier they apply to the Board. Then their criminal history, institutional behaviour, victim concerns and reports from a battery of others involved with correctional programming are reviewed. Files can be voluminous, amounting to thousands of pages. Members read it all then effectively question the offender. Ensuring public safety is their cardinal duty. At hearing’s end they alone decide if parole is merited.

Members do not retry offenders. Instead they fess out whether the inmate presents a risk of re-offending, if they can be returned safely into the community and with what restrictions? The latter must be reasonable and necessary, protecting the public without undermining reintegration. Undertaking a risk assessment is exacting and, if you get it wrong, someone could be hurt, or worse. If that happens you are held accountable.

Most inmates try to convince you they deserve parole. Some lie, some tell the truth, most do both. Eventually, offenders realize time inside is forever squandered, that jail deadens the soul. Only by changing their attitudes, associates, and behaviour can they hope to return to society. No one wants to remain in if there’s a chance to get out.

Rendering liberty decisions never became routine and was sometimes enervating. I’m grateful I had help. The men and women of the Correctional Service of Canada, charged with securing, shepherding, (and I do not exaggerate this next point), with saving (many) of the broken people populating our country’s prisons, perform a too-often underappreciated service. The Board’s staff were among the hardest-working people I’ve encountered in over 25 years of public service. Finally, there were fellow Members, whose dedication and black humour helped all cope with the horrors lurking in the files. Yet in the end it’s your call. Nothing lifts that burden. He who hears must decide.

I pray I made the right choices. Only time will tell. And, like every Member who came before me, and every one who’ll follow, I live with that. Nothing easy about it, nothing at all.

Lubomyr Luciuk is a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada.