Parole Board Fears Ignite After Saskatchewans Murderer’s Statutory Release Unveiling

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The revelation that a mass murderer in Saskatchewan was granted statutory release during last year’s bloody onslaught provoked fear and trepidation among the employees of the Parole Board of Canada, as evidenced by email exchanges.

The mails originated from partially concealed documents procured via the Access to Information Act, indicating that the board’s staff in Saskatchewan were urged to prioritize their safety and maintain alertness in the face of threats delivered subsequent to the horrific stabbings.

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Eleven individuals tragically lost their lives, and seventeen were seriously wounded during the brutal attacks that unfolded in James Smith Cree Nation and the neighboring village of Weldon on September 4, 2022.

The accused, 32-year-old Myles Sanderson, was apprehended four days later before dying in police custody. Amid the relentless manhunt, it emerged that Sanderson, notorious for numerous violent assaults, was under statutory release, which is awarded when an offender fulfills two-thirds of their jail term.

The ruthless killings prompted questions regarding Sanderson’s premature release and his ability to roam freely in the months leading up to the assault. Emails indicate that the parole board fielded “several alarming phone calls” incriminating Sanderson’s release, which were promptly reported to the Saskatoon police.

It was a chilling phone call received on September 8 at the Saskatchewan parole board office which incited urgent responses from the parole board staff and signaled significant safety risks. Jennifer Oades, the parole board chairperson, expressed her apprehension in an email, advising staff to ensure their safety by adopting alternate routes to work, moving in groups, or considering remote work.

Staff were further encouraged to maintain vigilance for suspicious activities or persons, and to minimize their visibility as Parole Board of Canada employees by tucking away their identification cards or avoiding branded items. The email also recommended reconsidering social media accounts that could pin them as parole board employees.

The parole board assured that although they occasionally receive feedback with “abusive” language, local authorities determined that the unsettling phone call constituted no explicit threat to the board. Parole board employees were also attuned to media reports regarding Sanderson’s release and shared their concerns about the public’s comprehension of the nature of statutory release.

Sanderson, an adult with 59 convictions, was granted statutory release in August 2021 after his inaugural federal prison sentence of over four years. In February 2022, following a brief suspension of his release, Sanderson was once again granted statutory release with a reprimand. Three months later, a parole officer declared him unlawfully at large and issued an arrest warrant.

In the wake of Sanderson’s horrific stabbing spree, public safety minister Marco Mendicino voiced his criticism of Sanderson’s release from prison, identifying “significant flaws in the system” requiring attention.

A conclusive report from a joint investigation by the Parole Board and Correctional Service of Canada on Sanderson’s release was due latest by March. Despite the anticipation and anxiety stirred by the Sanderson case, the parole board member who approved the case urged for patience, citing the time-consuming nature of these investigations dependent on case complexities and any ongoing criminal proceeding.

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