Oxford MP MacKenzie pushing bill to revoke prison warden's authority

By Daniel Proussalidis, National Bureau

MP Dave MacKenzie.

MP Dave MacKenzie.

OTTAWA - A Conservative MP is pushing forward his private member's bill to revoke a prison warden's authority to grant temporary escorted absences to first and second-degree murderers, and give the power to the National Parole Board.

Under the current system the parole board makes those decisions until a killer's last three years behind bars, then the decision goes to prison wardens.

"Shifting the authority for rehabilitative escorted temporary absences completely to the parole board gives victims the opportunity to be part of all of these types of decisions," Ontario Tory Dave MacKenzie told a parliamentary committee Tuesday.

Victims can appear before National Parole Board hearings, but don't have input into the decisions wardens make.

New Democrat MP Randall Garrison worries about the parole board's workload.

"I think that's a significant concern we have of unintended consequences," he said.

The parole board estimates MacKenzie's bill would require it to hold about 200 more hearings per year.

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