Ronathahi:io (They Have a Good Path) / Section 84 Early Release Program

Ronathahi:io is a program under the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Akwesasne Justice Department, according to section 84 of the Correctional and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) legislation.  This section allows an Onkwehon:we (aboriginal) inmate the opportunity to serve part of his/her sentence in the community, providing the community agrees.

In accordance with section 84 legislation Correctional Services Canada (CSC) must provide:

  1. adequate notice of the inmate’s parole application
  2. give the community an opportunity to propose a plan for the inmate’s release to, and integration into the Onkwehon:we (aboriginal) community. 

What is the Community Review Panel?

A Community Review Panel (CRP) is appointed by Mohawk Council of Akwesasne under Mohawk Council Resolution 2005/2006-071 to represent the community and be the body to receive applications and make decision on said applications.

Who is eligible?

  • To be an eligible candidate under the Ronathahi:io release program, the offender:
  • Must be a first time offender or case by case reviews subject to the provisions of the Correctional and Conditional Release Act (CCRA)
  • Has been classified low risk/moderate risk to re-offend
  • Must have a medium to high reintegration rating
  • Is an enrolled member of the Mohawks of Akwesasne
  • Must have served one sixth of his/her sentence to be eligible for day parole, or
  • Is eligible for accelerated Parole Release 

What is the process? 

  1. The offender must write a letter of request to the Akwesasne community via Justice Designee asking for the Community Review Panel (CRP) to be involved in his/her release planning and supervision.
  2. A confirmation letter will be sent from the Justice Designee informing the inmate that the letter has been received. The offender must sign a disclosure form in order to have his/her paperwork released to the Justice designee and the CRP members for his/her review.
  3. An information package will be enclosed. The offender fills out the paperwork, signs forms and returns the documents to the Justice Designee.
  4. The review will begin as soon as all the documents are in their possession. (arrest record, criminal record, pre-sentence report, court transcript, assessments and institutional records.)
  5. The Justice Designee will review the offender’s records, contact the review panel members and set up the date and time for the review, contact potential employers, parents, significant other, and/or victims.
  6. If it is found that the offender’s present charge is a drug offence, a letter will be sent to the offender informing him/her that a drug offence will need to be addressed in the Akwesasne Mohawk Court. 
  7. The process will be given to the offender.  This will need to be addressed before the offender can continue with the request for early release.
  8. All necessary paperwork and application to deal with the drug conviction will be dealt with in accordance to the Drug and Banishment Law enacted by MCR 1999/2000-098.  If the offender is not eligible for a unescorted pass to attend Mohawk Court, he/she may appoint someone to present his/her case for him/her. 

The Community Review Panel:

  • CRP will interview all applicants documentation accumulated during his/her incarceration
  • CRP will interview applicant’s family, supporters, potential employers and the victim or victims
  • CRP will make recommendations to the offender’s correctional release plan and will make recommendations to the conditions the offender will need to abide by while in the community
  • A representative from the review panel will go to the institution to work with the Institutional parole officer and the offender to finalize the correctional release plan
  • The applicant will take that Correctional plan to his/her National Parole Board hearing
  • If the NPB approves of the plan, then the applicant will be released into the community
  • The successful applicant will report to his/her Parole Officer and the police department in the community that he/she is residing upon his/her release
  • There will be culturally appropriate programming recommended
  • The Ronathahi:io Parolee will serve the remainder of his/her sentence under supervision in his/her community and a federal Parole Officer


Note: The applicant can apply once for the Ronathahi:io Early Release