VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Everyone deserves a chance to rehabilitate and reintegrate says a Vancouver defense lawyer as some wonder how two high risk sex offenders can be allowed to take up residents in halfway homes in the Lower Mainland.
Mark Jette says the road to parole isn’t an easy one, but it’s an important step in our justice system. “There’s risk in this case no doubt. They (the national parole board) determined it was manageable in their view based upon the information they had so out he goes,” he says. “It’s a pretty rigorous process. Not everyone gets parole and many people will try many times before they get an order for release, if they ever do.”
Sixty-three-year-old Larry Takahashi, known as the ‘balaclava rapist,’ was released to a halfway home in Vancouver with a long list of conditions. He spent about 30 years behind bars as part of three life sentences after admitting to raping more than two dozen women in Edmonton in the 1970’s and 80’s.
James Conway, a convicted pedophile with a long criminal history, moved to Mission two weeks ago. He has drawn the ire of many locals, including Mayor Randy Hawes who says he wasn’t told the truth about Conway’s relocation from Abbotsford.
Jette says while behind bars, the two men would have had to undergo anti-sexual assault classes and psychological assessments, all while earning the trust of their supervisors. “This is what we ask people to do when they’re put in [prison] is to improve as people and to show that they can be trusted. And when you successfully do those things, the reward… is some form of release into the community where you can continue to work on rehabilitation.”
Both men are at high risk of re-offending, and Takahashi even had his previous day parole, revoked in 2005 because he wasn’t being truthful with his parole officer.