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Killer denied bid for temporary absences from Metchosin institution

Parole board finds James Shortreed’s absence plan insufficient; risk factors not addressed
Iris McNeil was murdered in 1997 by James Shortreed, who was recently denied in his request for temporary absences from William Head Institution in Metchosin, where he has been incarcerated for roughly 25 years. (Photo courtesy of the McNeil family)

James Shortreed – a man who bludgeoned his new wife Iris McNeil to death in their Lower Mainland home while she slept in the summer of 1997 – was denied a request for unescorted temporary absences.

He remains incarcerated at William Head Institution in Metchosin for an indeterminate amount of time.

On March 31 the Parole Board of Canada affirmed it will stick to a decision made Oct. 6, 2021 to not authorize unescorted temporary absences. Before last fall’s decision, Shortreed had also applied for full parole or day parole, both of which were also denied.

Temporary absences are the first type of release an offender may receive. Such absences may be escorted or unescorted and could be authorized for reasons such as community service or family contact.

ALSO READ: Killer’s bid for parole from Metchosin institution denied again

Shortreed was denied his request in October, the board wrote, because he poses a risk to the public and McNeil’s extended family has petitioned against his parole for years with the belief he will do further harm to women if released into the public in any capacity.

“The Appeal Division finds that it was reasonable for the board to have found your risk undue under the proposed absence. The Appeal Division also finds that the board sufficiently explained its determination in the decision,” a document from the Parole Board of Canada reads, which addresses Shortreed’s application.

The board also found concerns with Shortreed’s understanding of his offence cycle – concerns compounded by the lack of structure in his proposed absence application. His plan insufficiently detailed the means of transportation he would use to travel to and from the institution, for example, and the times he would be away.

The board also found holes in how risk factors would be addressed around Shortreed’s sexual deviance and what insight and skills he would gain to reduce his sexual deviance and violence towards women.

ALSO READ: Family continues fight to block killer’s release from William Head In Metchosin

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