Likelihood of rehabilitation for Newfoundland man low

Parole board denies any form of release to dangerous offender

Bonnie Belec
Published on May 7, 2014
James William Marshall in 2005 during his dangerous offender hearing. The Parole Board of Canada has concluded Marshall is too much of a risk to release from prison.
— Telegram file photo

More than nine years behind bars has done little to curb the deviant sexual behaviour of a Newfoundland man who was deemed a dangerous offender in 2005.

And according to several Parole Board of Canada decisions regarding convicted sex offender James William Marshall, 57, it appears any hope for rehabilitation is dim.

The most recent says despite all efforts by staff of the Correctional Service of Canada, Marshall continues to display inappropriate behaviour and attempt to sexually assault the people trying to care for him.

“Your unacceptable behaviour demonstrated during your current and previous incarceration continues to be a concern,”  the board said.

“You often masturbate in the presence of others and have been known to try and grab at staff despite being told to cease such behaviours,” said the most recent decision.

The board’s decision noted Marshall has never gained any insight into his inappropriate conduct, and members fear it may be too late for him to benefit from any future programming.

While Marshall, a native of Botwood, waived his right to attend a hearing before the board, by law his case has to be reviewed every two years.

“It is evident following this review that very little progress has been achieved to date,” they wrote.

 “The need for programming, while it has been fully explored, does not provide any hope at this time of success in your case,” the decision said, adding that Marshall, if released, is a high risk to commit a violent sexual offence.

His failure to see any problems with his conduct has resulted in a lack of motivation for intervention, and professionals involved with his case are of the opinion that programming would not offer much hope of reducing his risk.

“They base their opinion on the fact that you have attended some of the best programs available on previous sentences with no positive results,” said the decision.

The board said given Marshall’s poor response to treatment, the value of further programming is questioned.

“At this time the only factor that may contribute to a reduction of risk in your case is your physical ability, or lack of, to act

out your deviant/criminally engrained thoughts,” it said in reference to a stroke he suffered in 2003.

Since being jailed, Marshall has lived in a health-care unit of an undisclosed prison due to his inability to care for himself.

Marshall has a history of violence against women dating back to the early 1970s, an inappropriate attraction to young teens and a disregard for court orders.

He was declared a dangerous offender in March 2005 in provincial court in St. John’s after he was convicted of touching a 12-year-old girl for a sexual purpose as well as seven breaches of court orders — most of which involved conditions that he not communicate, be in the company of or associate with any person younger than 16.


Numerous hearings

When he was attending his dangerous offender hearing, his daily living skills tested the patience of even the toughest correctional officers and deputy sheriffs.

Guards at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary testified that Marshall’s daily living skills were less than desirable. He refused at times to keep himself or his cell clean.

At that time he had been charged with so many internal offences that officials had to stop charging him because his cases were taking up too much disciplinary hearing time.

The judge hearing his case was told Marshall’s behaviour has been so intolerable in the past that when he was engaged in sexual offender counselling, the other inmates were so offended by his behaviour that they revolted until he was kicked out of the group.

Marshall was eligible to apply for unescorted temporary absences and day parole in 2006 and full parole in 2009. He hasn’t received any leave due to his problematic behaviour and his high risk to violently reoffend.