After William Boychuk, a Canadian, was convicted of murder in North Carolina, he was allowed to serve his life sentence in Canada.

Now the New Zealand mosque terrorist has been sentenced to life without parole (an unprecedented sentence according to the article linked below) and New Zealand's foreign minister Winston Peters says he wants him to serve his sentence in Australia since that's where he's from. The Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said that would not be a normal practice, and NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern said "[T]here isn't a legal basis for it. It would be a very complex undertaking."

How widespread is such a practice? Is this a unique treaty between the U.S. and Canada, or something done everywhere except that it's unheard of in Australia and New Zealand, or something between those extremes?


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    Where did you get the information about serving in Canada? webapps.doc.state.nc.us/opi/… indicates he is in NC.
    – user6726
    Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 19:37
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    NASH CI is Nash Correctional Institution - 2869 US-64, Nashville, NC 27856, United States
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 19:45
  • @user6726 : I probably got that information from the Raleigh News & Observer or else from local news broadcasts in 1996. Somewhere in the news media. Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 19:47
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    @MichaelHardy apparently, the news information is false. he might have applied for such?
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 19:48
  • @Trish : I remember being surprised that it could be done when it was reported in the news media. Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


It is possible in principle, in the US, under the Bureau of Prison Treaty Transfer program, so that one could serve your time in Australia for example -- but not New Zealand, which isn't part of a bilateral or multilateral treaty with the US: here is the list. Canada and Australia are on the list via the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. New Zealand is (by choice) not a participant.


The Council of Europe enacted the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons in 1983, which allows prisoners in signatory countries to request a transfer to their home country. Currently there are 47 European signatory countries, and interestingly enough 24 non-European signatory countries, including both the US and Canada.

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