KENTVILLE, NS - The Parole Board of Canada has denied day parole to a North Kentville man serving a seven-year federal sentence for sex crimes involving children.
The board reviewed the case of Jason Troy Pitts, 42, by way of a video hearing on Jan. 16. At the conclusion of the hearing, Pitts said he’s ready for day parole but the board denied the request.
A written decision indicates that the parole board is cognizant of the fact that Pitts has made progress in programming but notes that his insight and self-management plan are not consistent with his level of risk and needs.
“The board believes that your release plan for day parole is not sufficient in regards to the risk and needs that you present with,” the written decision states. “The necessary factors such as structure and protective factors that are necessary to facilitate your successful reintegration into society are not where they need to be.”
The board believes that Pitts requires more in the way of programming and gains in order to address the factors at the root of his offending before he’s ready for a day parole release.
Pitts pleaded guilty in October 2014 to charges of making, possessing and accessing child porn and to eight counts of conspiring to commit sexual assault on a child.
At sentencing, the court heard Pitts was involved in an online web streaming organization where he was communicating with individuals in the Philippines. Pitts was having children perform sexual acts with other children or with women for money.
There were five or six live shows and, in two instances, Pitts recorded these on his computer. Pitts had a collection of child porn images and videos aside from the recordings of the live shows. Police reported more than 50 money transfers between Pitts and his contacts abroad between January 2011 and April 2012.
Pitts was sentenced on Feb. 4, 2015, to five years on the conspiracy charges and two years for making, possessing and accessing child porn.
When questioned about his offences at the hearing, Pitts said he did not have issues while on bail prior to sentencing. He considered himself to be in a relationship with the woman who was assisting Pitts with his inappropriate sexual encounters with underage female victims.
With regard to his child pornography and inappropriate computer use, Pitts would justify his actions by stating that he was paying for it and was not physically harming the victims himself.
The board’s file information indicates that Pitts has a history of severe developmental trauma and childhood deprivation. His inappropriate use of child pornography began in 1995 and escalated over time.
Pitts shared that his past offending was the result of fulfilling his sexual desires and social inadequacies. He admitted to viewing child pornography via the Internet beginning in 2008 or so. He said he would access the computer for up to four to six hours daily after work.
“You found that your negative thoughts and experiences to attain age appropriate relationships was not happening for you and this led to you viewing child pornography,” the written decision states.
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) rates Pitts’ accountability and motivation levels as medium and he’s considered to be engaged in his correctional plan. Pitts completed the Final Diagnosis (DSM IV), a psychological assessment. The results indicated myriad mental health disorders, including Paedophilic Disorder.
Prior to his conviction, he completed a Forensics Sexual Behaviour Pre-Sentence Assessment and was considered to be a high risk to reoffend sexually.
The Computerized Mental Health Intake Screening System (CoMHISS) was administered in 2015, generating a referral for additional assessment and intervention. A mental health screening was subsequently completed in 2015 that concluded Pitts will encounter “important challenges” both during incarceration and with integration into the community.
File information indicates that in August 2016, Pitts was seen by a psychologist who believed Pitts demonstrated stability in the institution and was functioning independently without sign of deterioration. He was rated as being a low priority and psychological services were not offered to Pitts. Pitts accepted this and, at the time, he was not interested in pursuing psychological counselling.
However, in July 2017, Pitts alerted staff that he was not doing well and reached out for psychological services. He has indicated that he is now interested in pursuing psychotherapy to deal with past trauma and social anxiety.
A Psychological Risk Assessment completed in September 2017 concluded that Pitts’ risk for reoffending sexually is now “well above average” in comparison with other sexual offenders and his profile is associated with a 29 per cent chance of re-offending over a three-year period following his release.
Pitts has successfully completed several programs while incarcerated. He stated that he is now in a better place to deal with his inappropriate thoughts and to recognize the cycles that play a role in his offending. He claims to be aware of the strategies he needs to implement his newly found skills and realizes the need to address his negative self-talk.
Pitts has not received any institutional charges and hasn’t had any incidents reported in his Preventative Security File. CSC describes Pitts as “a quiet and respectful inmate.”
Pitts was placed on suicide watch early in his sentence. He engaged in suicidal ideation and superficial self-harm. Presently, CSC reports that Pitts is no longer anxious and no longer has the urge to self-harm. He denies having had suicidal thoughts.
File information indicates that Pitts was employed as a cleaner from July 2016 to August 2017 and has been working as an office clerk since August 2017.
Pitts would like to be released to a Community Based Residential Facility. He indicates in his parole application that he would like to obtain full-time employment in the community, complete the Sex Offender Maintenance Program and work with a psychologist to address non-sexual offending issues. He’s stated that he’s willing to take part in any interventions that would assist him in addressing his risk factors.
The CSC recommended that day parole be denied and was not supportive of leave privileges. During the summation of Pitts’ parole officer at his hearing, she shared that a community strategy has been explored in his case. Support for his day parole was not evident and “the community did not feel at this point that (Pitts’) risk could be managed in the community."
In 2016, Pitts represented himself in an appeal which challenged the appropriateness of his sentence in relation to eight counts of conspiracy to commit sexual assault on a child. The appeal was dismissed.