Photo of the Parole Board of Canada decision to extend day parole for Jason Cofell. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

Another Six Months Of Day Parole For Cofell

A former Chatham resident who murdered a teen and killed the boy’s grandparents more than 25 years ago will get to spend another six months out on day parole.

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is extending 44-year-old Jason Cofell’s parole for the third time since he was released to a Community Residential Facility at an undisclosed location in May 2016.

He still needs to obey several strict conditions, though. Cofell has been ordered to stay away from members of the victims’ family and he needs to undergo psychological counselling. He’s also not allowed to associate with anyone he knows or believes may be involved in criminal activity, and he can’t associate with anyone who is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, except with written authorization from his Parole Officer.

Cofell was previously sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 25 years after pleading guilty to murdering 18-year-old Jasen Pangburn and Virginia and Alfred Critchley in 1991.

The PBC’s latest decision, dated October 30, 2017, notes an assessment in September 2017 indicated that during the past six months of Cofell’s parole, “there have been no issues or concerns,” adding he “[continues] to present as compliant with release conditions” and maintains a “positive attitude toward supervision.” Cofell is also described as “pleasant and co-operative with members of his Case Management Team.”

The report says Cofell had been using regular weekend passes to visit his father over the summer until his father passed away on September 9, 2017. It goes on to say that his parole officer reports Cofell feels “shocked and saddened by this loss” and that he is “still processing” his grief, but that he also appears to be coping well at this time.

According to the report, Cofell is also actively involved in some training programs and tournaments at a martial arts centre while he also continues to focus on getting a job and working toward establishing a jewellery business. Cofell also obtained his driver’s license over the summer and reportedly plans to buy a car when he can afford one.

The written decision adds that a psychological report from July 2017 indicates that Cofell is still “assessed as a low range of risk for re-offending or violating the conditions of [his] release.”

The latest Correctional Plan Update from September 2017 notes that Cofell still has room for improvement in the areas of social interaction and personal/emotional orientation, adding his accountability and motivation level are rated as “high” and his potential for reintegration is considered “medium.”

The PBC also notes in its report, which is directed to Cofell, that “based on the information updates provided… regarding your release in the community, and noting that you suffered a family loss during that time, it is the Board’s conclusion that your risk has not increased” and that his reintegration is heading in the right direction.

As a result, the PBC is granting Cofell special release privileges that will allow him to spend four nights a week at a satellite apartment that is located on the same property as the half-way house where he will spend the remaining three nights.