Early Prisoner Release Due to COVID-19: Can People’s Opinions be Changed?



Due to the high rates of infection and contagion of the COVID-19 virus in Canadian prisons, the Parole Board of Canada implemented new guidelines to facilitate the early release of low-risk prisoners to limit the spread of novel coronavirus. This study examines Canadians’ opinions regarding the early release of prisoners from correctional institutions due to COVID-19 and seeks to discover if psychoeducational intervention can positively alter these opinions. Additionally, level of education was examined to ascertain whether years of formal education had an effect on openness to change. Data from 289 Canadians found that psychoeducational intervention was an effective way to improve attitudes towards the early release of prisoners and that those with a higher level of education were not more affected by psychoeducational intervention; however, it was noted that those with a higher level of education expressed less concern overall regarding the increase of released offenders in the community.