Convicted murderer Penny Boudreau gets more absences from federal prison


  • <p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>A video screengrab from 2008 news conference where Penny Boudreau put out a public plea to help find her missing daughter.</p>

Canada's parole board says Penny Boudreau, the local woman who strangled her 12-year-old daughter to death in 2008, can have more freedom from federal prison through escorted leaves to attend church and visit a close friend.

Boudreau is granted six "personal development" and one "family contact" escorted temporary absences (ETAs), with the house of worship attendance being three hours in duration and the family visit being six. The length of the leave includes travel time, which is to-and-from prison by Correctional Service Canada vehicle accompanied by associated officials.

Details of the Parole Board of Canada 's (PBC) November 2021 decision are contained in recently released four-page record released to LighthouseNOW.

"It is the board's opinion that you will not, by reoffending, present an undue risk to society during your absence," the PBC said in the written decision. "The board is also satisfied that a structured plan for the absence has been prepared."

In the decision, the PBC viewed the absences as next steps and beneficial toward a gradual, structured reintegrated release to the community. "The board notes that you have been engaged in spiritual activities both within and outside the institution as you have completed previous ETAs to attend church services," said the agency. "Continuing with these services will serve to further enhance the gains you have made in managing your risk factors. The ETA for family contact to a close personal friend who remains supportive of you will allow you to further develop close bonds in a familial setting and again further the effective management of your risk factors."

As long as Boudreau is escorted and monitored, law enforcement is not opposed to the personal development absences but "expressed their opposition to the proposed ETA to your friend's residence citing the dynamics of your crime, the need for deterrence and the negative impact your offence on the community."

Bridgewater's mayor said every time Boudreau's name resurfaces it reopens a community wound. "I don't think any of us fully understand why she did what she did," David Mitchell told LighthouseNOW. "It just continues to be frustrating and painful for people, especially people who knew Karissa and were close to her."

Karissa Boudreau was reported missing on January 27, 2008, the same day her mother took her to a remote area in Hebbville, Lunenburg County and strangled her with a piece of twine because, court heard at the time, Penny viewed Karissa as an obstacle in her own intimate partner relationship.

Penny then drove Karissa's body to Conquerall Bank, just outside Bridgewater town limits and dumped the body down an embankment off Highway 331, said an agreed statement of facts presented in court at the time.

Penny went in front of media cameras twice, making emotional pleas for Karissa's safe return as still images of her child were posted all over the community.

Karissa was remembered during a packed funeral in Shelburne County where she used to live and at a memorial service in Bridgewater. A year later, hundreds gathered in a Bridgewater park for a memorial marking the first anniversary of her death.

In June 2008, police charged her mother with first-degree murder. Months later, in January 2009, Penny admitted to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.

The PBC granted Penny Boudreau passes to attend church in 2018 and 2019, but not all the excursions were completed due to "operational issues, media attention and subsequent COVID-19 pandemic" challenges.

Compared to other offenders, the PBC said Boudreau is assessed as a low or very low risk to reoffend "generally or violently" and, while incarcerated, "not considered a security concern."

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