Commissioner's Directive

Private Family Visits

PURPOSE

  • To outline the processes for the use of private family visit units

APPLICATION

Applies to staff involved in the application process and management of private family visits

RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. The Institutional Head will implement a Standing Order for the use of private family visit units to ensure the safety of the participants and the security of the institution.
  2. The Institutional Head may delegate the authority for approval of private family visits to a level not below the Correctional Manager.
  3. The Institutional Head or designate will:
    1. ensure processes are developed and implemented for the review and decision making on applications for the use of private family visit units. When the unit is not being utilized for family visits, it may be authorized for individual time for inmates on a case-by-case basis
    2. report to police any suspicions that a criminal act has occurred.
  4. The Assistant Warden, Operations, will ensure:
    1. family violence prevention information is available to all visitors
    2. inmate and visitor(s) are advised of rules, regulations, behavioural expectations and responsibilities
    3. follow-up is conducted with the inmate and/or visitor(s) after the use of private family visit units.
    4. information related to victim services and the Restorative Opportunities Program is made available to visitors.
  5. The Correctional Manager will:
    1. review applications for private family visits
    2. provide a recommendation to the decision maker.
  6. The Correctional Officer II/Primary Worker will:
    1. process inmate requests for private family visits within the timeframes prescribed
    2. while conducting the Threat Risk Assessment for Private Family Visits (With Visitors) (CSC/SCC 1529) or Threat Risk Assessment for Private Family Visits (Individual Time) (CSC/SCC 1527):
      1. consult with the Correctional Manager
      2. consider family violence history and information provided by the visitor(s) in the Statement of Voluntary Participation and Consent for Private Family Visits form (CSC/SCC 0531)
      3. determine if a Community Assessment is required pursuant to CD 715-3 – Community Assessments
    3. following receipt of the Statement of Voluntary Participation and Consent for Private Family Visits form (CSC/SCC 0531), interview the visitor(s) if concerns are identified (if circumstances do not permit, the interview can be delegated to the Visit and Correspondence Officer)
    4. following the private family visit, conduct a follow-up interview with the inmate and, if required, with the visitor(s).
  7. The Visit and Correspondence Officer will interview the visitor(s):
    1. upon request by the Correctional Officer II/Primary Worker
    2. prior to the visitor(s) leaving the institution after completion of the private family visit.
  8. All staff will immediately report to the Correctional Manager in charge of the institution any suspicion of abuse or criminal activity during the use of the private family visit units.

ELIGIBILITY

Private Family Visits Eligibility - Inmates

  1. Inmates are eligible unless they are:
    1. at risk for family violence
    2. participating in unescorted temporary absences for family contact purposes
    3. in a Special Handling Unit
    4. recommended or approved for transfer to a Special Handling Unit, or
    5. in disciplinary segregation at the time of the scheduled private family visit.
  2. An inmate is not eligible to participate in private family visits with other inmates.

Private Family Visits Eligibility - Visitors

  1. The following are eligible to participate in private family visits:
    1. immediate family
    2. individual with whom the inmate has a close personal relationship.
  2. Proof of a common-law relationship is the responsibility of the inmate and/or the visitor.
  3. A minor child must be escorted by an accompanying adult.  

PROCEDURES

  1. An assessment related to a child visiting his/her mother utilizing the private family visit unit in accordance with the part-time Mother-Child Program is not subject to the private family visit application process. Those applications will be managed in accordance with the part-time residential component process of the Mother-Child Program outlined in CD 768 – Institutional Mother-Child Program.

Approval Process

  1. Upon receipt of the inmate’s Application for the Use of the Private Family Visit Unit (CSC/SCC 0529), the Correctional Officer II/Primary Worker will:
    1. ensure the following are completed by the visitor(s):
      1. Statement of Voluntary Participation and Consent for Private Family Visits (CSC/SCC  0531)
      2. if applicable, the Declaration of a Common-Law Union (CSC/SCC 0530E)
      3. the Visiting Application (CSC/SCC 0653)
      4. if applicable, the Visiting Application – Child Safety Waiver (CSC/SCC 0653-01E)
    2. if there are any concerns noted following the receipt of the Statement of Voluntary Participation and Consent for Private Family Visits form (CSC/SCC 0531), conduct an interview with the visitor(s) and document it in a Casework Record within five working days
    3. following consultation with the Correctional Manager and the Parole Officer, request a Community Assessment pursuant to CD 715-3 – Community Assessments, if required
    4. complete the Threat Risk Assessment for Private Family Visits (With Visitors) (CSC/SCC 1529) or Threat Risk Assessment for Private Family Visits (Individual Time) (CSC/SCC 1527) within 30 days, or where a Community Assessment is required, within 60 days following the submission of the inmate’s completed Application for the Use of the Private Family Visit Unit (CSC/SCC 0529).
  2. The Correctional Manager will:
    1. review applications for private family visits
    2. provide a recommendation to the decision maker which will include a detailed rationale.
  3. Recommendations and decisions will be recorded on the CSC Board Review/Decision Sheet and shared with the inmate pursuant to CD 701 – Information Sharing.
  4. Following the transfer of an inmate or the movement of an inmate in a clustered institution as a result of a change in security classification, the Correctional Officer II/Primary Worker will review the previously approved private family visit decision and submit a recommendation to the Institutional Head or designate who will confirm in the CSC Board Review/Decision Sheet, whether the private family visit will continue to be authorised, or will be modified or suspended. Unless significant changes have occurred, a new Threat Risk Assessment for Private Family Visits (With Visitors) (CSC/SCC 1529) or Threat Risk Assessment for Private Family Visits (Individual Time) (CSC/SCC 1527) is not required.

Duration and Frequency

  1. The duration and frequency for the use of the private family visit units will normally be up to 72 hours, every two months unless otherwise specified in the Standing Order.

Safety Measures

  1. During the use of the private family visit unit, regular contact will be made with the inmate and the visitor(s) in the least intrusive manner possible to ensure the security of the institution and the safety of the visitor(s) and the inmate.
  2. The results of the post private family visit interview conducted with the inmate and visitor(s) by the Correctional Officer II/Primary Worker and Visit and Correspondence Officer will be documented in a Casework Record within five working days.
  3. Any concerns will be immediately reported to the Correctional Manager in charge of the institution, documented in a Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875) and shared with the Correctional Officer II/Primary Worker and the Parole Officer.

Refusal or Suspension of a Private Family Visit

  1. A private family visit may be refused or suspended by the Institutional Head or designate if there are reasonable grounds to suspect:
    1. that during the course of the private family visit, the inmate and/or visitor(s) would:
      1. jeopardize the security of the penitentiary or the safety of any person, or
      2. plan or commit a criminal offence, and
    2. that restrictions on the manner in which the visit takes place would not be adequate to control the risk
    3. other reasons as determined by the Institutional Head or designate.
  2. Where a refusal or suspension is authorized, it may continue for as long as the risk continues, and:
    1. the inmate and the visitor(s) will be informed promptly, in writing, of the reasons for the refusal or suspension pursuant to CD 701 - Sharing of Information
    2. upon receipt of the written notification, the inmate and the visitor(s) will have five working days to make representations (verbally or in writing) with respect to the decision
    3. upon receipt of the information presented by the inmate and/or the visitor(s), a review will be conducted within five working days
    4. the inmate and visitor(s) will be informed of the final decision within 15 working days of the date of the review. The notice will also inform the inmate of his/her right to grieve the decision pursuant to CD 081 - Offender Complaints and Grievances.
  3. Upon re-application by the inmate following a refusal or suspension, a re-assessment of the risk will be completed:
    1. no less than six months after the decision, or
    2. when new information is obtained that could change the decision.

Commissioner,

Original Signed by:
Don Head

ANNEX A CROSS-REFERENCES AND DEFINITIONS

CROSS-REFERENCES

CD 081 - Offender Complaints and Grievances
CD 259 – Exposure to Second Hand Smoke
CD 559 - Visits
CD 566-1 - Control of Entry to and Exit from Institutions
CD 566-4 – Counts and Security Patrols
CD 566-7 - Searching of Inmates
CD 566-8 - Searching of Staff and Visitors
CD 566-9 – Searching of Cells/Rooms, Vehicles and Other Areas
CD 701 – Information Sharing
CD 702 – Aboriginal Offenders
CD 715-3 - Community Assessments
CD 768 – Institutional Mother-Child Program
CD 800 - Health Services
CD 860 - Offender's Money
SOP 880-1 – Food Services – Central Feeding
SOP 880-2 – Food Services – Small Group Meal Preparation

Specific Guidelines for the Treatment of Opiate Dependence (Methadone /Suboxone®) (April 2015)

DEFINITIONS

Accompanying adult: within the context of bringing minor children into a penitentiary to visit an inmate, an accompanying adult can be anyone who has reached the age of majority of the province where the institution he/she wishes to visit is located, has completed a visiting application and been granted permission to come into the penitentiary, and has obtained a signed authorization from the custodial non-inmate guardian/parent.

Age of majority: the age at which a person is considered to be an adult by a province or territory where the institution someone wishes to visit is located.

Close personal relationship: (includes extended family members for Aboriginal offenders) exists between two individuals and is normally characterised by situations in which:

  1. both individuals shared a close familial bond
  2. one of the individuals contributed significantly to the moral or spiritual development of the other
  3. both individuals were engaged in a long-term living arrangement or partnership
  4. both individuals shared significant life experiences that resulted in an enduring bond of friendship and trust
  5. for Aboriginal offenders, extended family members may include family relations that exist by birth, as well as significant others who are not related by birth, but are given the title of grandparent, parent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or other relative.

Common-law partner: a person who, at the time of the inmate's incarceration, had been cohabitating with the inmate in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.

Family violence: assault, abuse or other harm that occurs within the family relationships, such as physical assault, psychological/emotional abuse, deprivation and financial exploitation. It is any behaviour that leaves the victim feeling helpless and hopeless or takes away his/her dignity and self-respect. It also includes psychological trauma experienced by children who witness violence perpetrated against other family members.

Family Violence Risk Assessment: evaluates the level of risk an offender presents to his/her partner.

Immediate family: in respect of an offender, includes the following members of the offender's family:

  1. the offender's spouse or common-law partner
  2. a child of the offender or of the offender's spouse or common-law partner  
  3. the father and mother of the offender or of the offender's spouse or common-law partner
  4. the spouse or common-law partner of the father or mother of the offender or of the offender's spouse or common-law partner
  5. the foster parent of the offender or of the offender's spouse or common-law partner
  6. a child of the offender's father or mother or a child of the spouse or common-law partner of the offender's father or mother.

Individual time: opportunity provided to the inmate through the use of the private family visit unit to assess the life skill development and how participation will assist in meeting the objectives of his/her Correctional Plan.

Minor child: any individual under the age of majority.

Private family visits: visits that occur in separate structures inside the perimeter of the institution where the inmate may meet authorized visitors in private to enhance daily living skills, maintain positive community and familial relationships and responsibilities (e.g. parenting skills), and/or lessen the negative impact of incarceration on family relationships.

Threat Risk Assessment: an evaluation of factors that could pose a danger to the management of an offender, the safety of others, or security of an operational unit in particular circumstances.

ANNEX B

AGE OF MAJORITY

Province Age of majority Reference
Nova-Scotia 19 Age of Majority Act, R.S.N.S., c. 4, s. 2(1)
New-Brunswick 19 Age of Majority Act, R.S.N.S., c. A-4, s. 1(1)
Newfoundland and Labrador 19 Age of Majority Act, SNL 1995 Chapter A-4,2
Quebec 18 Code civil, art.  153
Ontario 18 Age of Majority and Accountability Act, R.S.O., 1990, c.  A7, s.  1
Manitoba 18 Age of Majority Act, R.S.M., c. A7, s. 1
Saskatchewan 18 Age of Majority Act, R.S.S. 1978, c.  A-6, s. 1
Alberta 18 Age of Majority Act, R.S.A. 2000, c.  A-6, s. 1
British-Columbia 19 Age of Majority Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.  7, s. 1

N.B.: Some provinces and the territories are not listed, as CSC does not have institutions in those sites.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.