TORONTO – An obese inmate who goes by the nickname "Big Mike" has been granted early parole because a Canadian prison could not accommodate his 430-pound frame.
Michel Lapointe, 37, was released from prison earlier this week after serving 25 months in Montreal's Bordeaux Jail for conspiracy, drug trafficking and gangsterism.
The Quebec Parole Board said this week that it based its decision for an early release on Lapointe's health, along with factors such as good behavior and the support of his wife and mother.
The two-officer board stressed that Lapointe was not violent and did not pose a risk to society.
Lapointe will have to follow a series of conditions, such as finding a job and staying away from bars. He will also have to meet with a parole officer on a regular basis over the next three months.
A former chef, Lapointe was arrested on drug-related charges in 2006. In February 2008, he pleaded guilty to all of his charges. At the time of his arrest, Lapointe weighed 375 pounds.
Defense lawyer Clemente Monterosso said the prison's poor diet caused his client to gain more than 50 pounds.
Following the court's decision to release Lapointe, his mother, Claire Lapointe, said her son has always had weight problems. She said the problems were exacerbated while he was in jail.
Convicts' weight has also been an issue in the United States. In one case, a 500-pound New York man accused of selling knockoff guitars was arraigned in a pickup truck in a parking lot because he could not fit into the courthouse.