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Canada’s first female dangerous offender granted day parole

['Officials at the Nova Institution for Women located on Truros James Street, indicated yesterday that staff is trained to address the needs of the facilitys inmates with mental health issues.']
Nova Institution for Women

The first woman in Canada to be designated a dangerous offender has been given day parole.

Renee Jeanette Acoby, 39, has been involved in a number of hostage-takings involving guards, inmates and staff at federal prisons across Canada, including one at the Nova Institution for Women in Truro 11 years ago.

Documents recently released to The Chronicle Herald show that on April 18 the Parole Board of Canada granted Acoby, who has a teenage daughter, two months of day parole because “you have made considerable progress since you were last reviewed for day parole in 2015.”

“You have completed programming with gains; you have cascaded to medium security, and maintained your behaviour there with no significant management interventions.”

Acoby also has participated in escorted temporary leaves from the Edmonton Institution for Women with no concerns.

But the parole board concluded there would be “undue risk” in granting Acoby’s request for full parole because “you have no full parole release plan for the Board to consider, and you have not demonstrated a period of compliance and stability on an expanded form of release.”

Acoby was the first woman to be declared a dangerous offender in 2011.

Corrections Canada could not confirm the current number of female dangerous offenders in Canada on Tuesday but media reports have put the number at nine.

In August 2007, while being escorted to a shower by three guards at the Nova Institution, Acoby grabbed one of the officers and held a metal screw from a CD player to her throat. According to her parole file, she ordered the two other officers to leave and forced the first officer to her knees, handcuffed her and and tied her feet together with boot laces.

“You removed the officer’s belt and tied it around her neck,” the parole board decision said.

“You demanded cigarettes and a pop, a call to the president of the Elizabeth Fry Society and a transfer to another institution. You held the victim for approximately two hours before you agreed to free her in exchange for a cigarette.”

According to the parole board documents, Acoby was raised for the first 10 years of her life by her grandmother, who until then she thought was her mother.

At age 10 Acoby found out that her father had actually murdered her biological mother. After that devastating revelation her life began spiralling out of control and she started using drugs, alcohol and solvents, and associated with negative peers.

The parole board documents outline a series of Acoby’s other hostage-takings: In 2005, while incarcerated in an Ontario women’s prison, Acoby and another inmate took two correctionsemployees hostage and held them for severalhours. The victims were threatened with being killed and were also forced to take medications. One of the victims had her arm and face cut with glass and her arm burned with a cigarette. She was also punched, had air freshener sprayed in her face and chunks of her hair cut off.

In 2004, Acoby grabbed another inmate by the neck from behind and threatened to kill her while holding a toothbrush with a razor connected to the top to her neck.

In 2003, she and another inmate assaulted a mentally challenged inmate with a metal bar and wooden handle. That victim suffered serious injuries all over her body. That victim also managed to escape.

In 2002, Acoby and an accomplice confined another inmate, tied her up and beat her with a weapon. Acoby also cut the victim’s leg with glass and threatened to kill her. That hostage- taking lasted for four hours.

In a second incident in 2002, Acoby slashed an officer’s face with what was believed to have been a razor blade.

In 2001, while incarcerated at an aboriginal healing lodge, Acoby and another inmate took a correctional officer hostage, the documents said. Acoby’s coaccused hit the officer in the head with a sock that contained several pieces of metal. When she fell, her radio and keys were taken. Acoby held a knife to the victim’s throat and threatened to kill her. The officer was able to escape.

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