Craig Munro (inset), an imprisoned killer and former heroin addict who murdered a Toronto police officer during a botched robbery, wants to be become a yoga teacher. The Parole Board of Canada has indulged his strange career plans, agreeing to continue to allow Munro a series of passes that permit him to roam free from prison. Munro, who is behind bars in British Columbia, appeared recently before the board, which noted (full decision after jump) that he seems “over confident and somewhat naive relative to the challenges” he’ll face when he’s free from prison.
(UPDATED May 27 – This post sparked an animated debate on my Facebook page, including comments by a number of ex-cons who have some valuable insight)
The parole board denied Munro less restrictive forms of release, day parole or full parole, but said he has done a good job so far on his unescorted pass program. Day parole, which involves release from prison to live in a halfway house, was denied, even though staff working on Munro’s case in prison recommended he get it. The prison staff said Munro’s risk in the community on day parole was viewed as “manageable,” but the parole board members disagreed.
The board didn’t offer any commentary about Munro’s claim that he’s committed to gaining certification as a yoga instructor:
You have expressed a desire to find employment in the practice of Yoga and to work toward beginning a Yoga Teacher Training Certification during your day parole as you aspire to become a Yoga teacher. You hope to engage in this industry as much as you can while in the community and work through the prerequisites on your own time.
Munro, 59, was granted unescorted passes from prison in March 2010, in a decision that sparked outrage, including angry condemnation from the family of Munro’s police officer victim, Const. Michael Sweet. The 30-year-old officer responded to a robbery call at a tavern in Toronto on March 14, 1980. Sweet was shot by Munro, who was robbing the tavern, along with his brother Jamie Munro. The pair barricaded themselves inside after they shot Sweet. The constable, a father of three, pleaded for his life as he slowly bled to death on the floor of the tavern. The Munro brothers refused to allow him to get medical attention. A tactical team eventually stormed the tavern but it was too late to save Sweet. Craig Munro was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
His brother Jamie was convicted of second-degree murder. He was granted full parole in 1992 and eventually he won permission to move to Italy.
Craig Munro had some trouble during his recent series of unescorted passes from prison. During one of his 15-day sojourns from prison he missed a ferry. The parole board congratulated him for quickly contacting Corrections authorities supervising his case and police, to report that he was going to be late getting to a halfway house.
Munro was able to “build community supports” through his series of four unescorted passes from prison in the past year, a community parole officer told the parole board, and he “met all expectations.” The officer noted “some issues of rigidness … however, not to the extent of it being a problem.”
Below is the written record of the parole hearing held March 30, 2011: