Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Man allegedly re-offended after receiving little assistance and support on statutory release

Federal prison officials twice allowed a violent criminal to breach his statutory release without consequence -- including just days before he allegedly participated in the violent home invasion and killing of a Winnipeg man.
Parole documents obtained this week by the Free Press show serious concerns about James Henry's ability to function in the community and obey conditions of his release were overlooked, allowing him to remain on the streets until after he was implicated in the April 18 slaying.
Henry, 38, is charged with manslaughter and conspiracy to commit robbery for his alleged role in the death of Ricky Lathlin. The 34-year-old died after an early-morning stabbing on Gilbert Avenue. Police announced Wednesday a total of five men are accused in the homicide, which began with a plot to steal from Lathlin.
Roland Edward Klyne, 26, and Jonathon Etienne Boyer, 25, are charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery, while Terry Junior Davis, 31, and Bradley Campbell, 31, are charged with manslaughter and conspiracy to commit robbery. Police are still searching for Campbell and have issued a Canada-wide warrant.
None of the allegations has been proven and the accused are presumed innocent.
Henry has a lengthy criminal history that led to him receiving just over 22 years in prison in 1991, according to parole documents. His offences included 14 counts of armed robbery, breaking and entering, possession of a weapon, theft and possession of property from crime.
Henry was released on parole on multiple occasions, only to quickly breach his conditions and have his parole revoked. He was given another chance in February 2009 when he was granted statutory release, which means he had served at least two-thirds of his total sentence. The National Parole Board ordered him to abstain from all drugs and alcohol, saying they were risk factors that had contributed to his previous crimes and breaches.
"You have a history of substance abuse which escalates your erratic and unpredictable behaviour," the board wrote.
In December 2009, a required urinalysis Henry provided was positive for marijuana. Although they had grounds to revoke his statutory release and put him back behind bars, Henry's case-management team decided to give him a break. They took the same approach when he failed another drug test in early April 2010, this time by consuming alcohol.
"You were provided with the opportunity to access several community resources after each incident in an effort to address your behaviour," the parole board wrote.
According to the board, Henry went to a house party on the night of April 18 and began consuming alcohol. Henry admitted he got into a car with several other people at the party in the time preceding Lathlin's slaying.
"You were reportedly drinking to celebrate the birth of your child. You have indicated that if you had not been drinking you would not have accepted a ride from these associates/co-accused," the parole board wrote.
Henry denied involvement in Lathlin's death, saying only he was in the "wrong place at the wrong time" and he is innocent.
Henry appeared before the parole board on July 15, where his statutory release was revoked. He was already being held in custody on the manslaughter charge.
"You indicated there was no excuse for your return to substance abuse in the community and your alcohol consumption was more extensive than what was originally disclosed. You acknowledged consuming alcohol with friends and with your wife over the last few months of your release," the parole board wrote.
"The courts will determine your innocence or guilt with regard to your serious outstanding charge. However, your choice to repeatedly breach your condition to abstain... is a significant concern."
The parole board criticized Henry for not taking advantage of the breaks he was given by being allowed to remain free despite getting caught breaching conditions of release.
"Despite these opportunities, you chose to return to high-risk behaviour by repeatedly consuming alcohol and failing to disclose your activities. Your actions and decisions in the community were not consistent with the behavioural expectation of an individual on statutory release," the board wrote. "The reasons for your suspension were within your control and your risk rose to an unmanageable level."

This man should have received more assistance and support after being granted statutory release. He should have been required to participate in addiction treatment, risk management and emotion management programming to help reduce his chances of re-offending. 

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