A violent offender who went missing from the Kamloops home where he was serving parole continues to be the focus of an RCMP manhunt.
Hasson Berrington Wilson, 45, failed to report to a parole officer on Feb. 14. Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said Wilson has a long criminal history - including acts of violence toward people in the community - and may be armed and dangerous.
"The potential for him to be violent, as was demonstrated by the past actions for which he was convicted, is there," said Learned.
Despite his history, Wilson met all the conditions needed to be eligible for parole according to the law, a supervisor with the Kamloops Parole Office said.
"As part of the correctional service, we have to follow the law," said Stew McLean, a parole officer supervisor. "It's our mandate to follow that and to supervise guys in accordance."
Wilson was on statutory release, having served two-thirds of his sentence.
McLean said there are offenders who are considered dangerous to the public who can be detained by the parole board.
However, if a violent offender doesn't meet the necessary criteria to be further detained, he or she is eligible for parole, he said.
"He has to be declared a danger to commit another offence in order to be detained longer," said McLean.
RCMP consider Wilson to be violent and an escape risk. Learned said Wilson has an extensive criminal record spanning 26 years and has convictions for armed robbery, forcible confinement, weapons offences, conspiracy and drug-related crimes.
"Wilson also associates in the circles of organized crime groups and has been previously active in the illicit drug trade," he said.
His most recent charges involved forcing people to take money out of their bank accounts, Learned said.
RCMP are informed as soon as a parolee is found in breach, said McLean. Police receive a copy of his or her criminal profile and check the culprit's regular haunts in an effort to track them down.
Although parole is federally granted, the provincial critic for public safety said it's important prisoners get the rehabilitation they need before being released into society.
"We need to make sure they are the appropriate candidates, that we do the appropriate screening, and that there is appropriate oversight for them," said MLA Kathy Corrigan.
Wilson five feet nine inches, 186 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact RCMP at 250-828-5000 or Crime Stoppers.
© Kamloops Daily News